Although the newest MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are sleek and wonderful, they have one big issue -- it's really hard to expand the storage in them. So let's say you buy that MacBook Air with 256GB of storage and you find yourself a few months later with about 15GB left... You can either try offloading files or you can expand the storage...except there's no real way to do that. Well, there is now. TarDisk Pear (128GB - $149, 256GB - $399 is a tiny little flash drive that plugs into the SDXC card slot of your MacBook Pro or Air (13 or 15-inch only, not for 11-inch Air or 12-inch Retina MacBook) and then self-installs software that pairs the storage with built-in storage in seconds.
To put it simply, the TarDisk is a fast solid-state flash drive in a tiny aluminum housing that is inserted into the SDXC drive. Add the Pear 2.0 software that's installed with a click, and it enables commands at the root of OS X to allocate files between the original built-in storage and the flash drive. To quote an FAQ on the TarDisk website:
"Pear provides a unique implementation of a hybrid drive which combines a specially built TarDisk and your internal solid state drive to provide a single managed logical volume on your MacBook.
1) The new logically merged volume is managed by OS X.
2) Internal SSD is primarily used before data is sent to TarDisk.
3) More frequently used files are maintained on SSD hardware.
4) TRIM enabled SSDs maintain original speed benefits of TRIM.
5) Read/Write buffer ("swap-space-equivalent") is maintained on SSD to buffer writes to files located on TarDisk.
6) Failure modes, if ever encountered, allow for direct restoration from Time Machine backups.
Performance tests taken with BlackMagic, GeekBench and NovaBench, intended to quantify as many metrics as possible both before and after Pear-ing, show equivalent or slightly improved MacBook performance."
The result? You have a MacBook Pro or Air that looks exactly the same that it did before, but with up to double the storage capacity in a hybrid drive. Think of it as a MacBook implementation of Apple's Fusion Drive.
While neither Dennis nor I have a device that we could test this on -- I'm using an iPad Pro and he has a 12-inch Retina MacBook -- it looks like a fantastic way to increase storage capacity on a device that you'd normally end up selling...and then buying another one with greater capacity.