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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:43 AM   #1
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Photos of a Prototype MacBook Pro with Integrated 3G Cellular Data




One of the most requested features for Apple's MacBook Pro line has been for the integration of some sort of built-in 3G cellular data to allow for anywhere wireless connectivity. MacBook Pro users presently need to purchase a separate Mi-Fi or 3G USB Modem in order to keep their machines connected to the internet when not near a Wi-Fi hotspot.




It appears Apple has developed prototypes of the MacBook Pro with integrated 3G data, as evidenced by this eBay sale showing a never-released MacBook Pro prototype.

This particular machine dates back to 2007 and is a 15" MacBook Pro Santa Rosa laptop with a 3G antenna, 3G hardware and SIM card slot built in. The machine was purchased "for parts" from Craigslist by the seller who describes the unit:
Quote:
Upon removing the top case it was immediately clear this was no normal Macbook Pro: the circuit boards inside were bright red as opposed to the normal blue! Further inspection found multiple differences from the stock version, most notably a feature never seen in a Macbook laptop of any kind: what appears to be a fully integrated cellular modem and SIM slot. There is an extendable cellular antenna located at the right top side of the display assembly (The antenna is marked with "Tyco Proto / #006" when slid out), and a standard size SIM card slot located underneath the memory cover on the bottom of the machine. The SIM card board is connected to the logic board via a connector not found on production machines. The solder footprint for it is still present on the production boards and not populated, which is interesting. This would seem to suggest that it was a last minute decision to remove the cellular functionality before going into mass production. The optical drive is marked as a "Sample for Evaluation". Rather than a normal EMC Number the specifications lapel simply says "XXXX", and the serial number does not show up in Apple's online database.
The seller was able to repair the machine to get it into working condition. The 3G connector is seen by the operating system, but the actual data connection is not presently functional. The auction is, of course, sold "as is" but for our purposes, the existence of such a machine is the most interesting aspect.




The laptop carries a red motherboard which is typical of Apple prototypes. We've seen in other prototype machines that have leaked out of Apple before: prototype Mac Pro and prototype iPod touch. The seller also notes that the remnants of the SIM-card connectivity remain on the production motherboards but are not populated. It's not clear at what stage Apple decided not to pursue production of this model.





The integrated SIM card slow shown above means Apple had used GSM 3G technology rather than CDMA, allowing for use on AT&T and many other international networks. The 3G card itself is identified as a Dynastream ANT2USB stick according to OS X. In the prototype, Apple integrated the 3G antenna as an extendable antenna along the right side of the lid.

Apple has yet to produce such a machine with integrated 3G, but has clearly been working on possibility since as far back as 2007.

Article Link: Photos of a Prototype MacBook Pro with Integrated 3G Cellular Data

Last edited by arn; Aug 14, 2011 at 08:58 AM.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:47 AM   #2
pewra
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Man that antenna is ugly. I can't understand why Apple made it quite so obvious.

It's reminiscent of all the early phones with large, completely nonfunctional antennas.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:47 AM   #3
Jerome Morrow
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Oh. My. God.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:47 AM   #4
StealthGhost
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In before people who don't read say it's ugly

This is a prototype from 2007, before 3g was in like...any laptops

Edit: I lost, first post is just that
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:48 AM   #5
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Cool at least they have experimented with it. Hopefully this will become common on pro's or the air more especially in the future.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:51 AM   #6
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oh god, that antenna is goddamn ugly
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:51 AM   #7
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definitely shows its age haha, remember when all the cell phones had those antennas?
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthGhost View Post
In before people who don't read say it's ugly

This is a prototype from 2007, before 3g was in like...any laptops

Edit: I lost, first post is just that
They probably thought, we can't put 3G in a MacBook before we but 3G in the iPhone! Plus, Jobs would never approve that antenna.

Now this is becoming less and less relevant with WiFi hotspots on phones.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthGhost View Post
In before people who don't read say it's ugly

This is a prototype from 2007, before 3g was in like...any laptops

Edit: I lost, first post is just that
Lol. I actually don't think it's a bad design. Just needs some updating for the current models. It's an innovative placement and I've never seen another machine like that, though one possibly exists. It seems kind of like the OLPC bunny ears but far less obnoxious.

This would be a welcome addition to my future MBP purchases. Especially if I could keep the service separate from my current contract and activate it only when needed.

On a related note, doesn't Apple usually have eBay take down legit listings like this?
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:52 AM   #10
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I personally wouldn't buy one. I can't afford ANOTHER data plan hah. Though that is really neat. If they ever produce MacBooks with 3G capabilities, I don't see there being an antenna like that one.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:53 AM   #11
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Please have mercy on our eyes. Couldn't they make it internal or something??
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:55 AM   #12
Skika
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Originally Posted by wordoflife View Post
Please have mercy on our eyes. Couldn't they make it internal or something??

Its a prototype never meant to be seen from 2007 ??
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:57 AM   #13
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When this eventually happens in our more modern Machines I think they might be likely to place the antenna design in the hinge of the macbooks as its that black plastic. Similar to the iPad's black plastic for 3G.

Or maybe they might have the black iPad type band at the top of the lid?

Either way putting 3G into the future macbook pro/air models would be awesome
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skika View Post
Its a prototype never meant to be seen from 2007 ??
Yeah, but I'm guessing back in 2007, Apple could have made it internal.
Or did internal antennas not exist in 2007?
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 08:59 AM   #15
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Maybe Steve was right. No one reads anymore.

It appears Apple has developed prototypes of the MacBook Pro with integrated 3G data, as evidenced by this eBay sale showing a never-released MacBook Pro prototype.

This particular machine dates back to 2007 and is a 15" MacBook Pro Santa Rosa laptop with a 3G antenna, 3G hardware and SIM card slot built in. The machine was purchased "for parts" from Craigslist


It doesn't matter how it looks. It was never released. Just an experiment. So it can look like a decomposing chicken as far as anyone's concerned, because it would never be available for purchase in that state. It's part of experimentation.

Do you honestly think Apple would have released something that looks like that?

I wonder how many Macbook Air prototypes, however many styles and "bad" designs never saw the light of day, before we finally got the masterpiece that was released to market.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 09:02 AM   #16
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Prototype

All prototypes don't become sellable devices, crazy right? I think Jobs knew this design was ugly, and that's why they didn't sell it. whoa.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 09:05 AM   #17
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Interesting I agree with the Integrated wireless but I my self am working on a couple of prototypes.

And the only reason why the antenna would come into place would be to reduce cost even though integrated wireless cards are more cheaper then they where in 2007.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 09:05 AM   #18
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Excuse me. That's not a rumor, it's a fact!

One second after AT&T offers a "bucket of wireless data" plan for "all your wireless devices", linked to your iTunes account authorized units, all these magical devices and more will pop out of Apple like weeds.

We lost 5 years of convenient wireless data access for a million MacBook users because someone decided we should want dongles better? Apple is clearly imperfect.

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Old Aug 14, 2011, 09:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *LTD* View Post
Do you honestly think Apple would have released something that looks like that?
No.
You're right though. They'd have to cover all angles whether they knew it was out of question or not, so good they did.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 09:14 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wordoflife View Post
No.
You're right though. They'd have to cover all angles whether they knew it was out of question or not, so good they did.
I'm shocked there's an antenna like that at all. Honestly, that's one of the guliest things imaginable. Even just integrating the antenna so it doesn't have to extend would have made it bearable.

I guess the metal casing would dampen the signal too much otherwise.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 09:16 AM   #21
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That's very unattractive.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 09:17 AM   #22
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Cool they were thinking of this back then. Would be cool if they did this. It would be a nice options. Of course... minus the fugly antenna.

In contrast, I think Apple should do a non-3G/4G version of the iPhone. Would be great for customers who want a smart cell phone, but don't need internet connection when on the road.
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 09:17 AM   #23
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Well.....Does the 3G work? Tell us man!!!!
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 09:22 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantthinkofone View Post
Well.....Does the 3G work? Tell us man!!!!
If you read... and check out the source link for the auction sale it tells you that it does not work...
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 09:22 AM   #25
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It would be a nice addition in new models especially since carriers may start moving towards shared data. If only they would let me keep my unlimited data when that happens.....
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