Apple's Remote Disc feature: What's the deal?


If you’re like me, you might have felt that Jobsy glossed over the Remote Disc feature while talking about the new MacBook Air. “It’s like having a drive in your MacBook except there’s no drive! Boom! Time to move onto the next item. Boom! Bam!”

Whoa-ho-hold it. How does it actually work? The silver-tongued Matt Hickey was able to pry some more info out of one of Apple’s product managers.

Apple’s site says that “Remote Disc lets you wirelessly use or ‘borrow’ the optical drive of a Mac or PC in the vicinity.” I assumed this meant over a network but I got hung up on the word “vicinity” and thought for a second that it might have something to do with Bluetooth. It doesn’t. It indeed works over your wireless network.

Okay great. So it works just like a regular drive, right? I’m just borrowing it. I ain’t tryin’ to hurt nobody, no how. I can put a DVD in my regular computer, plop down in the living room, and watch the movie on my MacBook, right? No, you can’t. It needs to be fully transferred first.

What about games? Can I play a game that needs to access the CD or DVD for copyright purposes and/or to load new levels as the game progresses? Again, no. It doesn’t work like that. You’d have to dump the entire disc onto your hard drive and then use some sort of disc drive emulator — not an overly easy proposition for most folks.

It basically works as a file transfer device. You can install software over a network but after that, you’d better not need to access the disc for anything else. If you do, you’ll have to buy the add-on DVD SuperDrive for $99.

MacBook Air – Wireless []