For the first time in nearly 20 years, there may no longer be a desktop Mac available with an optical disc drive for CDs and DVDs. As discovered by AppleInsider, new references inside a system file for Boot Camp Assistant on OS X Mountain Lion reveal unreleased iMac (iMac 13,0) and Mac Pro (MacPro6,0) models under a list of USB boot supported models, likely an indication that Apple will drop the optical drive on those desktop computers.
While all modern Macs can boot OS X from a USB drive, Apple’s Boot Camp Assistant references the plist to display a listing of newer Mac models with EFI-level support for booting a legacy operating system from a USB flash drive. The primary advantage to using a USB flash drive to create a bootable Windows 7 volume from an ISO (disc image file) is if you lack an optical drive burner.
Apple quietly updated the Mac Pro in June alongside the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lineups, although the refresh was only marginal and left many professional users disappointed. Apple last updated the iMac in May 2011, making a refresh long overdue for the all-in-one desktop computer. Many reports suggested that Apple would update the iMac at WWDC 2012, although that refresh never transpired. A Geekbench benchmark did reveal a new “iMac 13,2″ earlier this year, although its legitimacy has since been questioned.