Most of the updates to this year’s revision of the MacBook Air were under the hood, including a long-awaited bump of the maximum storage capacity to a modern notebook-rivaling 512GB. Apple’s upgrade costs a whopping $500 over the 256GB SSD, though, so most users will have to hold off for a while or consider third-party options. OWC has offered its own SSD upgrade kits for a while now, and the prices have fallen dramatically since they were introduced. Better yet, the new Mercury Aura Envoy ($48 Stand-Alone/$200+ With SSD) gives Air users a way to keep using the original drive once it’s been removed from the MacBook’s body.
Mercury Aura Envoy is an aluminum enclosure for the stock SSD, specifically designed to match the MacBook Air’s chassis with a tapered design that lines right up with the edge of the computer. It connects to the Air with an included USB 3.0 cable, though at this point it’s unfortunately only compatible with the SSD modules from 2010 and 2011 MacBook Airs, which are stuck with USB 2.0 speeds. The enclosure can be purchased by itself, but alternately comes packaged with a replacement SSD, which range in size from 180GB to 480GB. If you’re concerned about possible speed differences between Apple’s and OWC’s drives, no worries: OWC offers different drives to match the Airs, and you can confirm your original drive’s speed under About This Mac > System Report > Hardware before a purchase.