Who needs discs?

Only a few Apple products still include a DVD or hard drive. Is that a problem?

Not at all. Discs are an old physical relic from the pre-internet age. And they’re bulky and mechanical. The reason modern Apple laptops are so light, thin and durable is because there's no optical drive. It’s also why the batteries in Apple’s portable devices last so long.

Apple eliminated the floppy in 1998, which was considered a bold step at the time. Then they set their sights on the CD, which they replaced with the iTunes Store in 2003. The DVD was next – Apple added TV shows in 2005 and movies in 2006. Since 2008, many movies in the iTunes Store are in HD – giving them higher picture quality than a DVD. In 2012 Apple added iTunes in the Cloud so you can play music, TV shows and movies without even storing them on your computer. And in 2015, Apple unveiled Apple Music – for $10 a month ($15 for families), you can stream 35 million songs. Even build your own playlists and play them as many times as you like.

On the software side, Apple introduced the Mac App Store. Since 2011, nearly all Mac-compatible software is sold in the App Store. Even the software that runs the Mac – OS X – is distributed exclusively online. You can erase a Mac’s drive completely and it will connect to the internet and download the OS and apps, automatically.

It’s not just Apple. Netflix lets you stream over 20 thousand movies and TV shows to your Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch & Apple TV. Adobe and Microsoft apps are also sold online. Amazon has a large library of downloadable Mac software, with great deals on Intuit Quicken, QuickBooks & TurboTax.

You’ll save money. By eliminating discs you eliminate driving, shipping delays and waiting in line at the store. You have a far bigger selection – Apple offers over 35 million songs, 50 thousand movies, 10 thousand Mac apps and 1.5 million iPhone apps (over 100 billion downloaded). The App & iTunes Stores generate tens of billions of dollars annually.

And then there's convenience. A disc only exists in one physical place. But the internet… it’s almost everywhere. When you buy an app, book, song, movie or TV show on one Apple device it's available to you on all your other compatible devices at no extra charge. That’s right: buy an app on one Mac and load it on all the others you use. Start watching a movie on your Apple TV and finish it on your iPad. You don’t even have to download and store it on your computer (but you can... if you want to watch it later without internet).

So say goodbye to the disc. And hello to the modern world.

If you simply must have a disc drive, Apple still sells the DVD-burning SuperDrive which can be attached to any Mac that lacks an internal drive. It’s totally portable too, running off your Mac’s power.

Consider converting discs into disk images so you’ll never need them again. And yes, you can convert DVDs for iTunes and Apple devices.

Our advice: ditch the disc. CDs are like… so totally 80s, Okaay?

Learn more Mac tips.

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