Macs - why no eject button?

Today I was working on a project where I had a table of 14 iMacs which were in various stages of disrepair. It was a fun task because I am totally NOT a Mac person. Some of them wouldn’t turn on at all, others would only show a white screen, and others would give frowny faces or question marks. However, a running theme along these systems was once I put a CD into the drive, it refused to return it. I tried booting while holding option, I tried pushing the eject button on the keyboard, but neither of those are going to do anything if the computer and the keyboard aren’t communicating. And the majority of time, the system would recognize the keyboard, but still ignore my requests to eject the disc.

Why, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, does Apple consistently make computers without a hard button to eject CDs???

Steve Jobs.

Plug in a mouse, and hold the mouse button down while booting. KEEP HOLDING IT DOWN. The CD will eject.

I need to make a Scumbag Steve for this over on quickmeme.

Seriously, there has to be SOME kind of logic aside from “because people don’t NEED eject buttons” or the mentality that Apple projects never break down (hah!).

They do have an eject button, on the keyboard.

You need to hold it down for a few seconds, a single press isn’t enough.

No, there’s no technical reason why Apple doesn’t do it. In fact, the G3 and G4 towers had eject buttons. But, once Apple moved to slot-loading machines, Steve decreed that there would be no eject buttons to mar the exquisite case design.

Note that all iMacs have access to the drive’s eject mechanism (paperclip required).

Read the OP and try again. Having the button on the keyboard is USELESS when the keyboard and the computer aren’t communicating due to a bus malfunction.

You also said “And the majority of time, the system would recognize the keyboard, but still ignore my requests to eject the disc.” Consistent with someone not knowing that you have to hold the button down.

Actually, in the cases where I COULD get it out, it was a result of frantically tapping the eject button over and over quickly. In the PC world, holding a button other than the shift/ctrl/alt/win key leads to a buffer underrun and a lot of beeping.

Speaking of which, just how long do you have to hold the C key before the system gets the point that you want to boot from the disc?

I think it’s an artifact of two principles of Mac design – hardware interaction should be as minimal as possible, and multiple ways of doing the same task should be reduced.

Much of the time, these result in efficient, elegant design. At times, they result in aggravating situations, especially when something isn’t “just working.”

But, it really is LESS efficient. If I want to grab a CD out of my drive, my hand is going to be at the DRIVE, not at the keyboard. Particularly in the case where the computer is under a desk and you have to bend over anyway, why not put the button where the drive is? It’s not like you CAN’T have a keyboard eject button as well, just like many DVD players have an eject button on the remote control, but ALL DVD players have one on the front of the player.

Macs are ergonomic disasters, especially in the software. They are designed to look cool, but to slow you down at every turn.

Form > Function

You know how there’s those fancy cars that have key fobs that automatically open you care when you get in range, and now you can start the car with a push of a button, no keys needed or even provided. Sounds cool, huh? Now, if you lose the fob, you are basically screwed, and have to pay hundreds of dollars to replace it. Or if a key is provided to star the car, then there are no keyholes in the trim to open the car (although I think they’re usually hidden under plastic). Macs are sometimes like that. They don’t put physical redundancies on their controls, as a single, simple solution is best to them. Apple believes, rightly or wrongly (I’m guessing the former), that their customers either prefer aesthetics over function or don’t really care.

Since we’re in GQ, do you have a cite to support your contention that “macs are ergonomic disasters, especially in the software,” and that they are designed to “slow you down at every turn?”

I don’t remember the towers ever having eject buttons. I do remember the paper clip hole on my PPC6300 tower and later my G4 tower. I think I also read somewhere that current iMacs don’t even have a paper clip hole any more. I can’t remember how I got my last stuck disk out. The mouse at startup trick didn’t work, the keyboard eject didn’t work, and I had to go online to figure out where the paper click hole was, only to learn that there wasn’t one.

The lack of an eject button probably has something to do with history. Even Mac floppy drives never had eject buttons.

That’s because Mac floppy drives had a built-in auto-eject mechanism (which could still be manually actuated via the paperclip hole.) PC floppy drives had a purely mechanical eject button which could not be actuated via software.

The same justification doesn’t really work for CD drives which have powered eject systems. The complete lack of an eject button on the drive is surprising, though. Even my G5 tower had one, though it was hidden under the drive door.

It’s because OS’s don’t like you to remove disks, MS used to present you with a ‘blue screen of death’ if you removed a disk it was still expecting. Apple tries to prevent such inelegant problems by removing the button.

Macs are increasingly built with the philosophy that they are appliances, rather than machines for tinkering. You can see the further extension of this philosophy with the iPhone and iPad, but the trend is quite clear looking at Macs over the last decade or so.

That means that there’s no reason to add redundant controls, or to add user-accessible controls that are necessary when something goes wrong. When something goes wrong, you take your appliance computer to be fixed, and then it works again.

This can be frustrating sometimes, but I can also see reason in it. Something that breaks and requires an annoying workaround is likely to just stay mostly broken. Something that breaks and requires an actual fix will get fixed. If I had a cd drive that required using a paperclip, I’d just keep a paperclip handy, and every time I had to use it, I’d hate my clunky computer a little more. But when my Mac breaks, I just get it fixed. It costs more, but I’m pretty much never left with a computer that’s a hassle to use. And Apple has made it quite clear that they’re going for the market segment that doesn’t mind paying for quality.

Back at work,and I can confirm that the 2007 iMacs do NOT Have a paperclip hole. Just when you thought they couldn’t get even MORE crap.

Also,now I’m working with Mac Pro A1289s which have CD trays which have neither buttons or paperclip holes - and being trays, I can’t even INSERT a disc until I convince the system to open the tray…

That logic fails because there is nothing wrong with the optical drives on these systems - the problems lay elsewhere,mostly with components that tell the optical drive to eject…

Back in the early 90s college computer labs I remember, I think the 80% of the student attendants’ time was taken up by people asking how to get their diskettes out of the Mac Classics…which in the worst case ended up with them having to break out the “eject paperclip”.

They also possibly lost 80% of their hearing from the EXTREMELY LOUD KEYBOARDS.

I’m pretty sure they do.
It’s on one side of the slot or the other, hidden by the felt, but it’s there.