"The MacBook Air and the Ultrabook come without a piece of hardware that's been a mainstay in laptops for a long time — the optical drive," says a piece at CNET. "Maybe because they really aren't that necessary anymore
." I would have thought otherwise a few years ago, but traveling in the meantime with a small netbook was certainly handy. Since that machine died, I think I've used the optical drive in its low-end laptop successor a grand total of once, which was to test its wireless compatibility with a Live CD Linux distro.