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Six 'must-have' MacBook Air accessories

Essential accessories for professionals choosing to go for Apple's smallest, thinnest, lightest notebook.
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1 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Introduction

Given that Apple has bestowed an upgrade on the MacBook Air line, and given that this device is a popular choice for professionals – especially those who need a mobile computing platform – I thought I'd look at some mush-have accessories.

Image source: Apple.

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G-Form MacBook sleeve

The G-Form Extreme Sleeve is constructed from RPT – Reactive Protection Technology, a composite blend of PORON XRD material and proprietary G-Form materials and technology – and is designed specifically for laptop users on the go.

The soft, flexible, lightweight, water-resistant Extreme Sleeve laptop case can easily be placed into another bag, backpack, or suitcase and protect your laptop from impact. With the G-Form Extreme Sleeve™ you can be confident that your laptop is protected everywhere you go.

Price: $79.99.

Image source: G-Form.

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Twelve South PlugBug

I love my gadgets, but more gadgets means more chargers, which in turn means having to have more wall outlets.

The Twelve South PlugBug solves this problem by combining the MacBook Air charger with a 2.1A USB charger. The output of the USB charger is powerful enough to charge an iPad, which means having to carry one less wall wart.

Price: $34.99.

Image source: Twelve South.

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Apple Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter

In an effort to make the MacBook Air as thin as possible, Apple has done away with the gigabit Ethernet port. While wi-fi is pretty much ubiquitous these days, there are times when you might have to resort to a wired connection.

This is where Apple's Thunderbolt to gigabit Ethernet adapter comes in handy. You can throw it into a notebook bag and it's there waiting for you when you need it.

Price: $29.

Image source: Apple.

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2TB Western Digital My Passport Pro drive

For a few years now I've been a fan of Western Digital My Passport drives. They're small, fast, and reliable. Given my happy past experiences with these external drives, I was excited when Western Digital sent me a pair of 2TB My Passport Pro.

Unlike the My Passport drives which house a single drive, the My Passport Pro houses two drives. This makes them thicker, but the two drives have benefits. Using the supplied software you can configure these drives as RAID 0 or RAID 1 (depending on whether you want speed or data duplication) or you can set them to appear as separate drives.

The My Passport Pro comes equipped with Thunderbolt connectivity, and the cable is attached, which is great because it means I don't have to buy one, and won't lose the one supplied! This drive delivers transfer rates as high as 233 MB/s, so it's no slouch. The drive also gets power from the Thunderbolt connector so there's no separate AC adaptor to carry (or lose).

Price: $105.

Image source: Western Digital.

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Apple AirPort Time Capsule

As a MacBook Pro owner, I find Apple's Time Capsule to be an invaluable tool. In fact, there are two reasons I bought an Apple Time Capsule. First, I wanted an 802.11ac wi-fi access point to play with, and secondly, it offers me a no-fuss way to backup (and if something goes wrong, restore) my data.

A Time Capsule isn't cheap, but it does make backing up Macs a breeze, and because of this it is well worth the money.

Price: $299 for 2TB, $399 for 3TB.

Image source: Apple.

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7 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Apple USB Superdrive

In the pursuit of offering a device that is as thin as possible, Apple kicked the optical drive to the curb along with the Ethernet port.

Being without a CD or DVD drive on the MacBook Pro wasn't a deal-breaker for me, but I still use disks often enough that having a drive I can take with me is handy, hence the reason I grabbed Apple's USB Superdrive. Being no bigger than a CD case means that it is ultra-portable, and only needing a single USB cable for both data transfer and power means I don't end up with a huge kludge of wiring.

Price: $79.

Image source: Apple.

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