Apple is planning to release the next version of its operating system primarily using its recently-launched Mac App Store according to leaked information.
The Mac Maker is already using the App Store infrastructure to seed beta versions to registered developers as digital downloads and Apple Insider says it has learned that the same method will be used for the commercial distribution of the OSX Lion update.
Apple famously signed the death warrant of the floppy drive with the release of the original candy coloured iMac way back in 1998, and the Cupertino company has made the first move towards ousting the optical drive with the release of both the MacBook Air and the OSX Server version of the Mac Mini, neither of which feature a DVD spinner of any description.
The prevalence of high speed broadband connections, high capacity USB thumb drives and unencumbered media streaming have left many of us lumbered with piles of next-to-useless blank DVDs, and our ancient yet trusty MacBook - the DVD of which drive turned up its toes two years ago - remains unrepaired yet (almost) fully functional for the same reasons.
Apple has already pre-empted its intention to move to a download-only distribution model for its software offerings, having seriously diminished the amount of shelf space it allocates to software products in its bricks-and-mortar stores, and killed off the boxed version of its MobileMe cloud-based storage and syncing software altogether.
Rumour has it that the next generation of Apple's flagship MacBook Pro laptop range will also arrive sans optical drive, allowing the portable workstations to be substantially thinner and lighter, a move which is bound to have the same people who protested the demise of the floppy drive reaching for the purple crayons.
Apple will, of course, have to make some kind of concession to anyone with a slow connection or who is unwilling for whatever reason to join the software download revolution, but we'd expect the numbers in those ranks to be close to insignificant.
OSX Lion will be introduced at Apple's WWDC in June and could well spell the end of the DVD drive as we know it.