Apple shocked the world when, in 1997, it introduced the iMac without a floppy disk drive—and proceeded to eliminate the floppy drive from all subsequent Mac models in the following years. Apple argued that the floppy disk was dead: It was too small to serve as a backup disk, and, in the Internet age, it was a redundant method of exchanging files with other computers.
These days, even Windows PC manufacturers seem to agree the floppy drive is gradually vanishing as standard equipment. So, for that matter, is the Zip disk, the SuperDisk (a high-capacity floppy), and Iomega Peerless drives (a hard drive cartridge system).
So what's springing up to take the floppy's place? Let us count the disks:
Thanks to the Mac's FireWire or USB jacks, it's easier than ever to attach an external hard drive for extra storage. It would be hard to imagine a more convenient second hard drive than, for example, Apple's iPod, which is not only an outstanding MP3 music player but also doubles as a self-powered, extremely compact, bootable hard drive.
You wouldn't get far in today's computer world without a CD-ROM drive. Most commercial software comes on CD—not to mention the music CDs that the Mac can play so expertly (see Section 11.3.1).
CD-ROM stands for "compact disc, read-only memory"—in other words, you can't freely add and delete files from one, as you can from a hard drive.
Yet most Mac models today don't just ...