Early adopter issues: MacBook Air, SuperDrive, Remote Disc and Install
February 10th, 2008
Daniel Eran Dilger
The MacBook Air ships with software tools that allow users to do without the external drive option for most purposes. Remote Disc, Remote Install, and related technologies that enable the Air to share a network host’s optical drive both for reading files, installing software, backing up data, and even booting over the network. Here’s a look at the Air’s SuperDrive and how well early adopters can expect Apple’s software to actually work as an alternative to carrying around a physical SuperDrive.
Next to the missing FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet, the MacBook Air’s missing optical drive presents the second largest issue for new adopters of the ultra-thin, lightweight laptop. Apart from Sony, which has a reputation for shoehorning impossibly thin optical drives into its ultra small VAIO laptops, most other ultra mobile laptops drop an internal optical drive to shave off volume, weight, and battery consumption. Like the MacBook Air, they supply a matching, external optical drive; the difference with the Air is that Apple suggests that its SuperDrive is entirely optional.