LAS VEGAS — You can upgrade the storage capacity of some MacBooks by opening up your notebook, removing the hard drive and replacing it, but it's a difficult process that's a lot more work than some users may be comfortable with performing.
At CES 2016, TarDisk announced the Pear 2.0, the latest version of its storage-expanding accessory that simply slides into your Apple notebook's SD-card slot. Available now in 128GB ($149) and 256GB ($399) capacities, the Pear 2.0 improves over last year's original with a simplified installation experience and a cloud-backup solution.
The Pear uses Apple's Core Storage technology to mate its own memory with your hard drive, creating a hybrid drive in which all files share a common directory path, without the appearance of an attached memory card or external drive. (There are risks: If one element of a hybrid drive fails or gets corrupted, the other does as well.)
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Installing a 265GB Pear 2.0 on a MacBook Pro took me only 20 minutes and required three restarts (including one optional restart to perform a suggested File System Consistency check), with on-screen instructions guiding me through the process.
That's better that the original TarDisk, which came only with printed instructions. Now, if users try to skip installation steps, the Pear gives them a warning to get them back on the correct path.
Without much work, I doubled my MacBook's internal storage, going from 256GB to 512GB. TarDisk CEO Pierce Schiller says my experience is proof of the work that TarDisk has done, reducing the installation process from 11 steps to 8 steps, and lowering the number of restarts from as many as 4 to as few as 2.
Schiller told me that roughly 95 percent of first-time users of the original Pear were successful, but after "answering hundreds of customer support requests" himself, he believed the process could be simplified. Cutting down on the number of steps and restarts may make Schiller's prediction of an even higher success rate come true.
TarDisk's cloud backup service, available today, will copy the entire contents of your newly roomier drive to the company's servers for $5 per month or $50 per year. The service is free for the first 14 days, and the goal of the plan is to make users feel more comfortable with modifying their MacBooks, even in this easy way.
Users should know that the Pear is meant to be installed permanently, and not used as a plug-and-play device. If you need to un-Pear it, you'll need the backup copy of your drive that you were instructed to make during the Pear's installation.