I predict eventually, there won't be any tiny laser burning pits in concentric circles around a revolving disc. In the future, burns will take 5 seconds, here's how, though it's a bit more expensive than current hardware.
Instead of having the disc revolve above the laser, as the laser physically moves outward, what about having the entire underside of the spindle able to burn the entire cd in one shot? How realistic is that?
So you would have a CD-size-like laser under the disc, and so when you popped your disc in (probably slot loading then so no tray interference) you would tell Nero what to burn, it would fix the laser to correctly do so, and it would burn the whole disc evenly in one shot. Only problem I can think of besides a cd-sized laser would be heat. Would the heat from each neighbour pit be enough to disrupt the next pit? If so, you could do it in two passes? Or even three passes? Or you could determine the number of passes to do.
Someone shoot me down and tell me where this is lame, besides cost.
Reading discs would be faster, burning would be hundreds of times faster (it probably take longer for the disc to cool down than to burn). If you wanted to rip an audio track, you would just "turn on" whichever points of the disc are needed and the laser under it would read it one pass. Of course, it's limited by the speed of the mode one is in.
I thought of this wacky idea while I was "relaxing" one weekend.