Your new MacBook Air
About this article
This article highlights major changes and new features introduced by the latest laptop and tablet models offered through the E-Warrior Digital Life and Learning Program. It is intended for all students and employees who are scheduled to exchange their laptops and tablets during summer 2016 or during the 2016-2017 academic year.
The Apple MacBook Air: What's new? (MacBook Air)
No internal CD-DVD drive
This is the third year that WSU is offering standard laptop models without an internal, optical CD-DVD drive. Laptop manufacturers have been moving away from optical drives for the past few years. Shedding the optical drive allows the laptop to be thinner and lighter, increases battery life, and eliminates numerous points of mechanical failure. This is also in line with recent changes in media distribution. Music, movies, and software are no longer being distributed via CD-DVD and cloud services and large-capacity external drives are replacing CDs for file storage. If you still rely on an optical drive, you can:
- Purchase an external CD-DVD drive
- Check out an external CD-DVD drive from the Technical Support Center (AskTech@winona.edu], 507-457-5240, Somsen Hall 207)
- Find your media online (e.g., Netflix, YouTube, or the Krueger Library's Films on Demand)
- Consult with TLT (firstname.lastname@example.org) on the possible conversion of your CD-DVD-based media to an online format
No network port
The MacBook Air is the first Apple laptop without a standard RJ45 network port. Our campus wireless network provides dependable and pervasive WiFi coverage. Those who still want a wired connection can use a Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter. Note: employees interested in this adapter should contact the Technical Support Center (AskTech@winona.edu, 507-457-5240, Somsen Hall 207).
Beginning in summer 2011, Apple started replacing the Mini DisplayPort port with a new Thunderbolt port. The port has the same shape as the Mini DisplayPort and accommodates any Mini DisplayPort adapter you may have purchased previously. For example, if you have a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter that you use to connect your current MacBook to a projector, this will work with your new MacBook Air. The benefits of Thunderbolt include an increased data transfer rate (10 Gb/sec) and the ability to connect high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices through a single port. For more information, consult Apple's Thunderbolt FAQ article. Note: employees interested in this adapter should contact the Technical Support Center (AskTech@winona.edu, 507-457-5240, Somsen Hall 207).
El Capitan operating system
If you are already a MacBook user and have not upgraded to the new El Capitan version of OS X, this will be pre-installed on your new MacBook and does include a number of new features and functions. If this is your first Mac laptop, you will need to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the Mac operating system.
- What's new in OS X El Capitan?, Apple website
- El Capitan FAQ: Everything you need to know about OS X 10.11, Macworld article.