You want to talk about hunches. I've got one. Mac laptops will soon be optical drive free. It was an obvious removal when the MacBook Air came out. It needed to be thin. But now with the Internet turning more into the omni-present "Evernet" and with more and more software being distributed that way (Mac App Store), Apple has less reasons to keep a such a space-hogging component—not to mention relatively outdated technology—in its mobile systems.
Take, for example, Apple's recent software announcements. Final Cut Pro, Motion, Compressor, and OS X Lion. Any mentions of shipping this stuff on discs? Nope. They are Mac App Store only, so at least they say.
And that's just the cake. Here's the icing. The drives just take up so much damn space. If you open up the back of a MacBook Pro, you'll see that there just isn't anymore room to do what Apple always, always, always wants to do from a design standpoint, which is to make the next generation thinner and lighter. The optical drive takes up at least 20-percent of the internal guts of a 15-inch MacBook Pro, and probably even 30- to 35-percent of the regular MacBook. If any slimming down is going to happen, the only expendable part in the laptop is that of the optical drive.
And here's the cherry to top it all off. Beyond the size and weight improvements the MacBook or MacBook Pro would gain from a DVD-drive exorcism, just imagine the amount of battery life the product could gain. It would be astounding.
Right now seems a perfect time for Apple to come out and say something to the tune of, "Hey, we've got the Mac App Store for software and games, iTunes for music and movies, and you've got the Internet for just about any damn thing else you might could want from an optical drive. So, we've taken it out in order to ship you a thinner and lighter product with much better battery life."
If anything, at least the base model MacBook will see an update soon, and that seems like a perfect test-product to see how well the new, Superdive-less design is received.