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OWC Announces Mercury Aura Envoy as Industry’s First Bus-Powered Enclosure for Using Apple MacBook Air SSD as a Portable External Drive

Other World Computing announced today the Mercury Aura Envoy, the industry’s first bus-powered enclosure for utilizing the factory Flash SSD from any 2010 or 2011 Apple MacBook Air model as an external drive when upgrading to the higher-capacity and higher-performance of an OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD. Complementing a MacBook Air both visually and digitally, the new Mercury Aura Envoy will be shown in Other World Computing’s booth #5231, LVCC North Hall, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which begins Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lighter than Air, Take it Anywhere

The Mercury Aura Envoy’s sleek size (5.9in L x 1.79in W x tapered .279in to .466in H) makes it an ideal portable storage and/or backup solution that slips easily into a laptop bag or coat pocket. Made from brushed aluminum and offering bus-powered (no AC adapter needed) convenience, its 1.5-ounce (no drive installed) housing is nearly light as air. The Mercury Aura Envoy isn’t a lightweight in the performance department however; its USB 3.0 interface offers up to 500MB/s data rates for high performance, on-the-go backup and file storage as well as grab-and-go enjoyment of music, movies or videos.

Two-Step Installation Takes Less Than Two Minutes

  • Remove the two screws that hold the two halves of the Mercury Aura Envoy enclosure together.
  • Insert the factory SSD module into the Envoy’s SATA adapter and re-assemble housing.

Only Performance Upgrade Available for MacBook Air

Since its introduction of the Mercury Aura Pro Express 3G SSD at the 2010 CES show, OWC remains the only alternative to factory SSD options for the latest MacBook Air. OWC’s 3G SSD models are available in capacities up to 480GB (8x more capacity than factory options) and deliver up to 68 percent faster performance in real world use.

Owners of 2011 MacBook Air models can use OWC’s 6G Aura Pro Express model, available in 120GB and 240GB capacities, as well as the new 480GB capacity announced today for CES (see separate OWC VPO press release), to take advantage of the MacBook Air’s faster processors and built-in 6Gb/s SATA data bus. With an Aura Pro Express SSD, users can achieve peak, sustained data rates over 500MB/s, versus the factory installed SSDs, which are limited by SATA Revision 2.0 (3Gb/s) capability. OWC offers an easy online guide to assist consumers in selecting the correct Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD for any of Apple’s MacBook Air models from 2008 to current.

Complements Industry’s Most Comprehensive SSD Line for Macs and PCs
The new Mercury Aura Envoy enclosure for the MacBook Air Flash drive enhances OWC’s existing line of performance-leading, world record-breaking 3G (3Gb/s) and 6G (6Gb/s) Mercury SSDs. OWC offers SSDs for nearly every Mac and PC produced over the past decade in capacities from 30GB to 480GB with prices starting from $54.99.

It’s very gratifying to have developed the only complete performance upgrade solution available for the highly successful MacBook Air,” said Larry O’Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing. “Besides providing significantly higher performance and capacity than the factory drive with our Mercury Aura Pro Express SSDs, the new Mercury Aura Envoy easily and elegantly turns the factory SSD into a new, high-performance external drive.”

Mercury Aura Envoy Features:

  • Lightweight aluminum enclosure complements MacBook Air appearance
  • USB 3.0 interface (Micro-B port) for 500MB/s data rates
  • Ultra portable:
    Size: 5.9in Length x 1.79in Width x tapered .279in to .466in Height
    Weight: 1.5 ounces (empty case, no drive installed)
  • Silent, fanless operation
  • Bus-powered (no AC adapter required)
  • One-year warranty

Pricing, Availability

Compatible with the Flash SSD module used in current 11.1″ and 13.3″ MacBook Air models, the Mercury Aura Envoy will be available from OWC and through the retail channel by late March priced at $49.95 MSRP.


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  • Can this enclosure be used to access “existing data” on the SSD? I have a Macbook Air that does not boot. Any chance I can pop the SSD in this and access the data? Basically, I’m simply looking to recover data off the SSD from a Macbook Air.

    • As stated before…We were expecting them late March as well, but due to an unexpected production delay, we are now estimating a late May availability.

  • Just curious, why the delay? I was expecting them in late march, so I’ve been waiting to buy an Aura SSD till the envoy came out…when I checked today with customer service, the expected availability is May now?

    • We were expecting them late March as well, but due to an unexpected production delay, we are now estimating a late May availability.

    • “…the Mercury Aura Envoy will be available from OWC and through the retail channel by late March”

  • I appreciate the effort, but I’m still holding out for Thunderbolt equipped enclosures. Any word you can share on upcoming products equipped for Thunderbolt?

    • As we’ve mentioned before, OWC is currently planning to offer our own brand name Thunderbolt equipped storage solutions later this year. Why the extended time frame? Just like how we took our time in developing our industry leading SSDs, we don’t rush into product areas until there is more evolution of the emerging technology…so we can offer the highest levels of performance, quality, and reliability.

      In the interim, we do offer various third party (non-OWC) first generation Thunderbolt products for those customers that can’t wait for the improvements we will ultimately provide.

      We applaud Apple for partnering with other technology providers, getting consumers excited about this latest data interface, and creating demand for Thunderbolt enabled products. The industry is in the very early stages of Thunderbolt developments and we’re excited to have the opportunity to be developing solutions with the next generation of data transfer performance.

    • Not really, Apple left FireWire off of the MacBook Air models. As this is a complementing product, we did as well.

      • But didn’t Apple also leave USB 3.0 off of the MacBook Air models, instead sticking with 2.0? Surely MacBook Air owners using this product will have their transfer rates capped at 2.0 speeds?

        • Sure, but USB 3.0 is backwards compatible to USB 2.0 – so one port gives MacBook Air owners the full external data transfer capabilities of their machine, while allowing the product to achieve unbottlenecked performance when used with USB 3.0.