I'm a strong advocate of killing the optical drive. As of 2011, there is no need for it anymore. Laptops could get lighter, smaller or have more room for additional battery capacity if the optical drive would no longer be present.
In my life, I never see people use the optical drive. And why would you use them any more? Isn't it so that if you are still using CDs or DVDs with your computer, that you do it out of (a bad) habit? And if you really can't part with your CDs or DVDs, would an external USB optical drive be a usable solution?
I think that we are at a point where most people don't even know that their computer has an optical drive.
With the release of the new 2011 Mac Mini, Apple dropped the optical drive yet again. They first dropped it from the MacBook Air and now the Mini.
What is next? Well that is clear. New Macs will be able to boot over the Internet from Apple's servers. Again, no need for an optical drive, even for reinstalling your computer. I wouldn't be surprised if the next generation of MacBook Pro laptops would not contain an optical drive. Maybe some people aren't ready for it but people should rejoice since it would make MacBooks thinner and lighter.
As apple killed the floppy drive, it is now killing the optical drive.