The company's habit of killing off technologies before they're really dead is inconvenient, but Cupertino is playing the long game.
Wikimedia Commons/Brian Fung
There once was a time, eons ago, when people transferred files and folders from one computer to the next not by syncing devices on a network, nor even by sending them through the tubes of the Web, but by passing around little spinning magnetic records encased in plastic shells. To get at the data stored inside, you had to stick them inside a machine called a disk drive. Sometimes, the drive was an entirely separate device from your computer, and it'd be connected to your PC by a thick cable. Nowadays, floppy drives see more use as musical instruments than as information readers, but at one point in technological history, they were ubiquitous.
It seemed like a radically dumb idea at the time, but Apple -- as was its wont -- struck out on its own by eliminating floppy drives from its products altogether in 1998. That marked the beginning of the end for the storage format. Although the technology stuck around far longer than it deserved, by the turn of the millennium, floppies had largely gone extinct.
Fast forward a decade, and it's clear Apple's retained a fancy for killing off outgoing technologies that the rest of us think still have some life in them. In the latest update to the company's notebook line, Apple does away with physical DVD drives and spinning hard disks, the latter being replaced by small, ultra low-power solid-state drives with no moving parts. The new version of Apple's operating system, OS X Mountain Lion, won't be installable on most Macs built before 2007.