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It's not what Apple adds, it's what it cuts, stupid

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AWOL optical

This led to a short-lived third-party market for expensive USB external floppy drives in non-matching but equally hideous translucent green plastic. Eventually the world of computing caught up and it seems silly now to think that Apple's decision to dispense with floppy drives held any significance, but I can assure you as someone who has shared data between a PC and a Mac literally side by side since 1994, it was a pain in the arse for years.

Earlier this week, Apple unveiled its new line of MacBook Pro notebook computers. Everyone's talking about the 2880 x 1800-pixel retina screen, pumped up by the Apple PR machine. "Your favourite software. As you've never seen it before."

Well, in addition to the unnecessary full-stop, this isn't even true: it doesn't run Virtual Valerie at all.

Virtual Valerie

The retina screen is lovely, it really is, and I also believe that eventually retina-class screens will become standard on all computers. But this retina is blinding you (ho, ho) to what Apple has removed from the MacBook Pro: no optical drive, no Ethernet, half the storage space.

Apple's promo videos show a smart guy on a plane editing video using his ultra-quiet, retina-screened MBP while his fellow passengers - clearly non-productive dipshit Windows users - try to get some sleep.

What it doesn't show is the same man deciding to sit back and watch a DVD only to find that he can't because Apple took out the DVD drive. He really ought to have torrented some films before catching his flight, he supposes, but this can take days to complete despite his fast internet connection.

Even so, he's not sure he can spare enough space for 20 gigs of movies on his half-pint SSD. Later, he arrives at the New York branch but finds that he can't plug into the company network because Apple took out the Ethernet port, so he spends the whole jetlagged morning logging calls in a vain attempt to get a Wi-Fi login, only to have it keep dropping out because he's been given a desk on the "wrong side of the pillar".

After a few years, all of this will seem trivial. However, unlike Apple PR, I have to live and work in the real world today as well as - one hopes - in a few years from now.

Until then, feel free to keep reading about stuff that doesn't matter. ®

Alistair DabbsAlistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. Like many El Reg readers, he was waiting for the MacBook Pro announcement before deciding whether to buy a new notebook. It looks like we're all going to have to wait a little longer, folks...
 

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