With the new iMac rolling out with no optical drive built-in, it’s obvious that Apple is never going to support Blu-ray. I can understand Apple’s not building in a Blu-ray player — after all, the company a) loves thin products, and b) wants you to buy all your music, movies and TV shows at iTunes — but the company should at least offer Blu-ray support.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing — told Harry McCracken of “TIME” that “Blu-ray has come with issues unrelated to the actual quality of the movie that make [it] a complex and not-great technology … So for a whole plethora of reasons, it makes a lot of sense to get rid of optical discs in desktops and notebooks.”
His preferred Blu-ray alternative? iTunes, of course, which lets you buy a movie and then watch it on all your Apple devices.Once upon a time, people assumed that Macs’ lack of Blu-ray was a delay, not a permanent decision to fast-forward past it. McCracken told Schiller that he imagined folks don’t ask about it much these days — and the Apple exec, not surprisingly, agreed. (You can read more of the interview at .)
Despite Apple’s dislike of it, Blu-ray may have the brightest future of all optical media. Blu-ray penetration in North America and Western Europe will surge from just over 25% in 2011 to over 76% by 2017 (standalone players and game consoles included), according to ABI Research (www.abirsearch.com).
Consumer spending on home video has slowly declined since hitting US$21.8 billion in 2004. In 2010, DVD sales and rentals dropped 11% to $14 billion, while Blu-ray disc sales and rentals accounted for $2.3 billion, up 53% from 2009.
And according to iHS Screen Digest:
° Blu-ray has now reached 36 million homes in the U.S., which represents about 33% of all U.S. TV households. There’s been a 40% increase in 2011 over 2010.
Blu-ray software sales increased 33% in 2011 over 2010.
° Of the Top Ten Home Video Software Titles in 2011, over 40% had a Blu-ray Disc in the package (standalone BD movies and BD/DVD Combos). That’s a 27% jump over 2010.
What I would like to see Apple do is provide the “hooks” for Blu-ray playback in Mac OS X . Then third parties could offer drives that both record and play Blu-ray discs without a lot of inconvenient work-arounds. Windows PC users have that choice — and some of us Mac owners want it as well.
— Dennis Sellers