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Apple Rethinking Blu-ray?

30 Apr, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Apple Inc. reportedly may include Blu-ray in the next version (8.2) of the popular iTunes platform software, slated to be unveiled in June, according to online reports.

Inclusion of the high-definition format could mean future Mac computers would be Blu-ray Disc compatible as well.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based media technology giant isn’t talking, but online forum posters for the upcoming Apple WWDC (worldwide developers conference) in San Francisco from June 8 to 12, featured iTunes signage declaring the platform would include “CD, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and music and video-related data from Gracenote Inc.”

Though a charter member of the Blu-ray Disc Association, Apple has steadfastly refused to include Blu-ray drives in Macs and Macbook personal computers.

Richard Doherty, analyst with The Envisioneering Group, agreed Apple is experimenting with formal BD drives for iMac and Pro playback, which he said doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

Last October, Apple’s speculated foray into Blu-ray remained the grist of scuttlebutt after CEO Steve Jobs said the technology giant would not include the high-definition drive in its 2009 line of laptop computers.

“We’re waiting until things settle down and Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace,” Jobs told attendees during a presentation.

The executive at the time characterized licensing aspects of Blu-ray as “a bag of hurt,” which underscored cumbersome and expensive licensing processes (since simplified) that mandated encryption and related DRM safeguards.

Analyst Rob Enderle has maintained that putting Blu-ray in a Mac would be counter-strategic, as Apple is aggressively pursuing downloads and even eliminated optical drives in some products.

“Apple was an early supporter of Blu-ray but never did anything with it,” Enderle said. “For a company whose products are used to create movies, not being able to play Blu-ray has become problematic and adding the support has become a requirement.”

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