Notebook makers are anticipating the launch of the next generation of MacBook Pros and apparently are planning their product strategy around Apple's success or failure.
Rumors suggest that Apple will eliminate optical disc drives from the standard feature set and offer external drives as an option. Digitimes reports that notebook manufacturers such as Dell, HP and Asustek will follow Apple's lead, but only if Apple sees a positive reaction from customers.
Digitimes noted that notebooks without an optical drive could be manufactured for $20 less and could enable shell designs that are about 1 mm thinner than notebooks with an optical drive.
There is some credibility to the rumor that Apple will drop optical drives as the company is moving toward iCloud and content streaming. Back in 1998, Apple was first to drop the 1.44 MB floppy drive when it launched the original iMac. The initial iMacs only had CD-ROM drives and forced users to use Apple's (online) iDrive as a storage alternative to write data.