In 2011 Apple stopped including CD and/or DVD media with devices. Not coincidentally, this was also the same time when Apple stopped including optical drives in their devices. Instead of DVDs, Apple included a custom USB flash drive with Mac OS X and other software installers.
According to Apple’s website:
MacBook Air (Late 2010): Frequently Asked Questions about Software Reinstall Drive
“Your MacBook Air (Late 2010) comes with a USB Software Reinstall Drive that contains a copy of Mac OS X and iLife. If you selected to pre-install iWork at the time purchase, iWork is also included on the MacBook Air Software Reinstall Drive. Use this device instead of DVDs to reinstall your operating system and applications and to run essential applications and utilities. Note: The MacBook Air Software Reinstall Drive is read only. You cannot erase it, reformat it, or reuse it as a general purpose USB storage device. If you try to use the MacBook Air Software Reinstall Drive on a computer other than a MacBook Air (Late 2010), you will be offered two options: ‘Restore from a Time Machine backup’ or ‘Restart the computer’. All menu selections are disabled.”
According to Apple, the MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converter allowed you to “use the MagSafe connector on your LED Cinema Display, Thunderbolt Display, or MagSafe Power Adapter to charge your MagSafe 2-equipped Mac computer.”
Essentially, this adapter helped to bridge the gap to allow original MagSafe power-equipped devices (2006–2012) to be used after Apple changed to a new MagSafe 2 (2012–2019) standard in 2012.
MagSafe was an Apple technology that allowed power cords (primarily on laptops, but also used on some displays) to provide power using a magnetically attached cord. The technology was extremely effective in preventing damage because if a user would, for example, trip over a laptop power cord or forget their device was plugged in, the magnet would pull out of the socket without damaging the device.
Devices that used this adapter included: 24-inch Apple LED Cinema Display, 27-inch Apple LED Cinema Display, Apple Thunderbolt Display, Apple 45W MagSafe Power Adapter, Apple 85W MagSafe Power Adapter, MacBook Pro with Retina display, and MacBook Air with MagSafe 2 power port.
According to Apple, “The Apple USB SuperDrive is compatible with Mac models from 2008 and later that don’t have a built-in optical drive.” This includes MacBook, MacBook Air with Retina display, MacBook Pro with Retina display, MacBook Air, iMac (late 2012) and later, Mac mini (late 2009) and later, and Mac Pro (late 2013).
The drive is compact at 0.67 inches by 5.47 inches by 5.47 inches, and weighs 0.74 pounds. The drive includes a USB-A port, making an adapter necessary to use it with newer Macs that only include USB-C ports; however, no separate power adapter is required.
Apple proclaims that this drive is “Everything you need in an optical drive. Whether you’re at the office or on the road, you can play and burn both CDs and DVDs with the Apple USB SuperDrive. It’s perfect when you want to watch a DVD movie, install software, create backup discs, and more.”
This MacBook Air 11-inch featured a 22-nm Haswell 1.4 GHz Intel Core i5 processor. It included 4 GB or 8 GB of memory and 128 GB or 256 GB of flash storage. This was the smallest of Apple’s MacBook Air line of laptops measuring 0.11 to 0.68 inches and weighed 2.3 pounds. It included a 720p FaceTime HD webcam, a backlit full-size keyboard, and an 11.6-inch widescreen TFT LED backlit active-matrix glossy display (1366×768).
Wireless connectivity included 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, while ports included analog audio out, one Thunderbolt port, and two USB 3.0 ports.
A previous version of the MacBook Air 11-inch nearly identical except for a slower processor and less available RAM and flash storage.
In my role as Assistant Superintendent for Technology & Innovation, I led the teams that managed nearly 4,500 of these laptops over a five-year period (2014–19). At the time, all high school students in the school district were issued a MacBook Air 11-inch and students used the same model for their 4-year high school career. Apple stopped manufacturing this laptop in 2018 and the high school switched to the iPad Generation 6.