Last we heard, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an e-mail shortly after the WWDC stating that Apple is “planning a new Mac Pro for later next year.” Now, it looks like there is some additional evidence to support this assertion in Mountain Lion's configuration files, and it also points to a significant potential hardware change in the Mac Pro update:
From Apple Insider:
The file lists a series of Mac models that support USB flash drive booting, referring to each model by its initials and its internal architectural version number. While it includes MacBook and MacBook Pro models with optical drives, most of the Macs in the supported list are optical free.
Two of the models in the USB-boot support listing refer to Macs that haven't been released yet: the MP60 (the six generation Mac Pro, or MacPro6,x) and IM130 (pointing to the 13th generation iMac, or iMac13,x).
The article goes on to say that in all likelihood the new Mac Pro won't have an optical drive. If this turns out to be the case, would it still be worth buying?
For me personally, the answer is 'no'. In the past year, I've used my optical drive to burn playable and data DVD's for clients, festival screenings, and for backing up downloaded software. The ability to burn DVD's still has utility, and until the day we have widespread fiber optic gigabit internet connections, dirt cheap high-speed/capacity SD cards, and the DVD player becomes as anachronistic as the VCR is today, it will continue to have utility.
Do you think the hidden files in OS X Mountain Lion suggest that the upcoming Mac Pro will lack an optical drive? And would a Mac Pro without an optical drive be a deal breaker for you, or do you think optical drives are past their prime?