In case you didn’t know, one of the reasons that the MacBook Air is so thin is due to the fact that it lacks an optical drive, which is also one of the features (or lack of) that separate it from the MacBook Pro lines. Well, it looks like Apple has found a way to make the MacBook Pro without sacrificing its functionality. According to a recently discovered patent, Apple has managed to slim down the optical drive by reinventing it.
Regular optical disc drives require the up and down movement of a motorized hub that puts the disc into place – it is the mechanism that causes the whirring and churning sounds whenever you insert a disc. By eliminating this securing mechanism, the height of the optical drive could be greatly reduced. Apple’s solution to this problem? Magnets.
According to the filed patent, with the use of hubs, clamps and magnetic fields, the current mechanism used to secure discs in place can be replaced, which allows for much thinner drives, which in turns leads to a thinner notebook (in this case, the MacBook Pro).
Now there’s no telling if Apple is going to use this technology – after all, it’s just a patent and more than half of the stuff that gets patented never see the light of day. But don’t be too surprised in the future if Apple does pull it off. You might even see these ultra thin disc drives being used in the MacBook Air.