Lack of 3G a Deal Breaker... No, Not Talking about iPhone

Discussion in 'Macworld San Francisco 2008' started by MacRumors, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    After talking to others about the MacBook Air yesterday, one common theme seems to be appearing... the lack of mobile broadband (3G) is a deal breaker for many.

    As I told many people yesterday... if the MacBook Air had included any sort of 3G internet connection, I would have bought one instantly. No questions asked. I probably would have loaded up on SSD Flash as well, knowing it would be my primary mobile device. But with the lack of 3G, I see no compelling reason to move off from my MacBook, which also has a 3G USB dongle hanging off its side.

    Perhaps this is a skewed view of the world at the Macworld Expo, where there's a high concentration of power-users and bloggers, but it's a practical consideration for a product that is supposed to be an "ultra" mobile device.

    In the days leading up to the event, it was clear that Apple was coming out with a super thin MacBook... but the lack of reliable 3G/WiMax rumors concerned me. In the days before I had hoped the "Air" name would refer to more than just the lightness of the device.

    Some have suggested that Apple will be heading down this path later this year, though that would certainly annoy some of the early adopters of the MacBook Air. There are plans in place by Intel to start launching WiMax chipsets around mid year. The iPhone itself is rumored to be getting 3G towards the middle of the year.

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  2. sartinsauce macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2006
    Los Angeles
    What kind of track record does Apple have with any WiMax providers?
  3. justflie macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2005
    Red Sox Nation
    I think there's a USB to Expresscard adapter. Then you can plug in your 3G card, right? I mean, sure, that's kind of annoying. But it's still possible. Don't fret! :)
  4. sailnavy macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2003
    I was pretty disappointed. No ethernet/no 3G with at&t... just seemed odd. Jobs must have a minion to haul the laptop with the 3G dongle, and the cord around.
  5. Sbrocket macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2007
    I'm not sure. There was no reliable information leading up to the release that indicated the Air would include anything like 3G or WiMax...just the reactions of forum posters to the "There's something in the air" posters and their guesses about what it could mean. I think something that big would have been leaked quicker than stuff like the external drive was being such a big feature, so I don't really see a reasonable expectation for it. Certainly it would be nice for some potential buyers, but that could be said about a lot of features.

    I wouldn't be someone to see the use in it anyways since my whole campus is wired for 802.1x-authed wireless and ethernet ports abound, not to mention that 3G is non-existant here.
  6. Spades macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    It may be a piece of crap otherwise, but I think the Kindle has set a new expectation for what wireless connectivity really means.
  7. Orng macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2007
    I think the point is that he is already using a dongle workaround with a MBP; Since the MBA doesn't solve this problem, there is no point in getting an MBA.
  8. slipkidcmh macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2008
    Two comments:

    1. MacBook Air should be thought of as an equivalent to the original iMac. This is a simple, sleek machine that's not really meant for power users.

    2. I learned from Apple long ago not to buy their first generation products. The features and capabilities that get added on the first upgrade are worth the wait.
  9. xenotaku macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2005
    Absolutely, I dont own one, but the Kindle's feature of always connected is amazing. Every laptop should have this feature.
  10. tgildred macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2007
    This Just In....

    ...conference room full of bloggers finds something to complain about. Details at 11.
  11. Leo74 macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2007

    Of course that would all be solved if Apple would let the iPhone work as a modem in tandem with their laptops, which they oddly allow other phones to do (the main reason I have not jumped on the iPhone bandwagon.) These days at Apple, bottom line decisions are taking over consumer benefit decisions way too often for my taste.
  12. RichP macrumors 68000


    Jun 30, 2003
    Motor City
    I really wish this machine had a killer feature in it that would make me want to buy it. Multitouch trackpad is cool but I am sure that will be in all the machines within 6 months. 3G built in would have been nice. Or a crazy battery life spec. Or just something that really made this machine stand out to the current apple offerings (besides its size.
  13. mainstreetmark macrumors 68020


    May 7, 2003
    Saint Augustine, FL
    The REAL solution for this is, of course, not to load up your machine with some cellphone stuffs, but to allow the iPhone to function as the wireless bluetooth modem. That way, even us honkin big MBP owners can be wirelessly on the net.

    Not even the hackers seem concerned about making the iPhone do this. Is it even possible with a software hack?
  14. illitrate23 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2004
    the kindle has a battery life of a week. switch on the always-connected function and that drops to 2 days

    the macbook air currently has 4-5 hours battery life
    if you added the same kind of connectivity you'd be looking at.... what... about three quarters of an hour before you needed to plug it in?
    AND the kindles data connection to sprint is paid for because you'll keep on downloading newspapers and books which you pay for and the price includes the cost of the 3g connection to Sprint.
    there's no similar subscription based data for the Air, so either Apple would have had to include another $500 or more on the price of the machine, whether you live in a 3g/edge/whatever area or not
    OR they'd tie you into an 18-month data contract with AT&T a la the iPhone

    and you can imagine how much complaining that would have brought about on this forum
  15. KindredMAC macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2003
    3G this and 3G that....

    I am SO sick of everyone spewing the new catch phrase of "3G" to use as a weapon against Apple.

    #1- 3G networks are not wide spread in the US yet. Do you know how long ago AT&T/Cingular said we would have 3G coverage in New York State. Try almost 2 years ago. How many people that use "3G" as a tidbit actually live in an area where 3G is available???

    #2- WiFi hotspots have become so prevalent across this country that they are almost easier to find than a good cell reception. Try driving down the street in any area with your iPhones on and start scanning for WiFi locations. You will find that you will be inundated with LINKSYS router after LINKSYS router of businesses that offer free hotspots.

    Last night on The Loop, the one guest mentioned how he was disappointed by the lack of 3G in the Air. I thought I was going to put my foot through the television. What kind of complaint is this?

    It's like me saying, "Geez, this laptop is crap because it doesn't come with Adobe Creative Suite pre-installed because I'm a graphic designer and Apple should know that I, of all people, need that to come on my laptop."

    Here's the thing.... I would NEVER THINK of running CS3 on the Air. There are limitations to all things "special". This is a "Special" laptop that is not intended to appeal to the masses. Just as 3G does not appeal to the masses when the known 3G networks in America only cover a small percentage of the entire country...

    Please to present AT&T's 3G in BLUE:
  16. justflie macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2005
    Red Sox Nation
    yeah, I just noticed that. That's what I get for not reading the article! :)
  17. Justinerator macrumors 6502


    Jun 26, 2007
    Redondo Beach, CA
    yeah, this is pretty disappointing. One of the many features the mba is lacking.
  18. tominated macrumors 68000


    Jul 7, 2006
    Queensland, Australia
    If they ddid have 3g, they wouldn't be able to release it in some countries at first. In australia, Telsta (one of the major telcos) is pushing to replace 3g with NextG (3.5G or HSDPA)
  19. sebastianlewis macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2007
    San Francisco
    Um... Arn, while I understand your point of view, I'm of the opinion that until the US cellular market isn't divided into 2 technology camps (CDMA/EVDO and GSM/UMTS) that wireless broadband should never be built in... a USB dongle, well I'd never use one, but an ExpressCard slot wouldn't have hurt though it's kind of cramped already.

  20. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    Yeah, not in the US. But in the rest of the developed world 3G coverage is excellent. You wonder why iPhone sales are so bad in Europe? Because we aren't going to throw out our much faster two year old 3G handsets and go back to something far slower. It'll be the same in Japan when they launch there. No 3G, no sale.
  21. guifa macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2002
    Auburn, AL
    I must have missed something. Did they disable bluetooth on the MacBook Air? Because I know I have no trouble surfing with 3G with my Mac through my Bluetooth connection, and it works great. Just because the iPhone doesn't let you share internet via Bluetooth doesn't mean other companies' phones prevent you. (the sad thing is when I hooked up my N70 and installed its software it had better Mac<->phone features than the iPhone, with quite natural-feeling native Mac interfaces)
  22. illitrate23 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2004
    not in the uk either
    sure, it's fine in the big town - works great in london - i get on the train home, and it drops in and out
    oddly enough, i think i'm seeing better Edge coverage on my iphone with O2 that i was seeing 3G coverage on my sony ericsson with virgin media.
  23. takao macrumors 68040


    Dec 25, 2003
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    well one of 3G most used features is using it for laptops .. according to the TV they even sell more of those USB dongle 3G modems than actual cellular phones with 3G.. heck they already offer some skins in retail for those dongles so that not all look the same...

    i can point to at least half a dozen friends who use those as their primary internet

    needless to say in the german baords i've looked around an aweful lot mroe complain about the lack of 3G ... even more since you can't simply add an internal card (PCMIA or whatever) to the Air

    i know people from the US don't understand it but for a high class laptop this is becoming a must feature in europa ... either built in (like sony) or at least addable internally
  24. prestowk macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2008
    Why embed this technology into a notebook? Everyone will have a mobile phone to go with it, so let the notebook connect to the internet through the phone, over Bluetooth. Whenever the mobile phone network technology changes, you change your phone, but your notebook still keeps working over Bluetooth. I don't want 3G in my Macbook.
  25. lshaner macrumors regular


    Mar 7, 2007
    I've been a long proponent that ALL of the MacBook(Pro) models should include an internal bay for an embedded 3G daughter card.

    I use an ExpressCard34 EvDO card in my MBP... However, I would much prefer to leave the slot free and, instead, see Apple offer the USER the option to install any of these...or similar devices:

    I just don't like having crap sticking out of the side of my Mac. :-(

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