The shift has begun: Apple's new desktop flagship iMac computer, released Friday, has no optical disc drive, following the lead of some laptop computers, CNN reported.
With computers shrinking, leaving less room for bulky physical drives, and streaming music and movies on demand reducing the need for CD and DVD disks, the disc drive is becoming irrelevant, experts said.
"Over time, an optical disc will be as much of an historical curiosity as a floppy disk," said Michael Gartenberg, a tech-industry analyst with research firm Gartner Inc.
Apple also led the way in saying goodbye to the floppy drive; its first iMac shipped without one.
"These old technologies are holding us back," Phil Schiller, Apple's head of marketing, told Time magazine. "They're anchors on where we want to go. We find the things that have outlived their useful purpose -- our competitors are afraid to remove them. We try to find better solutions -- our customers have given us a lot of trust."
That's long been a philosophy at Apple, Gartenberg said.
"It's clearly a long-term trend, but Apple's always been aggressive about making moves like this sooner as opposed to later."