MacBook Air 11 with 4G/LTE?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by rezwits, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. rezwits macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2007
    Las Vegas
    I would really like to have a MacBook Air 11 (Retina, yeah right) with 4G/LTE built-in. So I can add it to my AT&T mobile share data plan for $10 a month and GO-FOR-IT!!!

    Do you think this will happen ever? I am really not into carrying around my iPad, I only bring it with me when I know I am going to be watching SlingBox for like an hour+ on it. So, I am not really an iPad guy. I would tote my MacBook Air 11 LTE with me every where I go tho in a heartbeat, cause I just can't do that with my MacBook Pro 17.

    So, does anybody have any Rumors on 4G/LTE being built-in on the next MacBook Air 11/13, or even Pro? But I would really wouldn't like to carry a Pro tho...

  2. mfram macrumors 65816

    Jan 23, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    If it hasn't happened yet, I don't think it's going to happen at all. Remember, the iPhone has a built-in WiFi hotspot for network sharing. So I think Apple's thoughts are that you'd just use your iPhone as a hotspot.

    As an alternative, you can get USB dongles from Verizon or ATT that will give you coverage on your laptop. If you already have a share plan, I'd think you could add it to your plan. Also, there are dedicated mobile Wifi hotspots that are designed to be a mobile hotspot.
  3. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
  4. rezwits thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2007
    Las Vegas
    Two Reasons

    The difference is, if you just plop down your MacBook Air, and flip the lid and start typing in a browser or whatever, it would be so much better if it was instantly on and ready or always on, and then flip it closed. Right now it's a matter of having your phone in "constant" hotspot availability, which drains your iPhone battery, and then waiting for the air wifi to kick in and establish connection with your phone, which is not QUICK by any means.

    So we are talking:

    1. slow handshaking via wifi or even bluetooth, to jumpstart the internet connection
    2. battery drain on your iPhone being in hotspot mode all the time to be ready

    Two big reason for me.

    I wanna be able to walk around at my nearest social club and:
    sit at a table, pop the lid, type, close the lid

    iPads suck heheh I'll just say it right now. Nah, Just depends what you want...
    mines a TV right now that's it

    I am a developer, I need Xcode and builds and typing...


    ps I know there's some development environments for iOS etc
  5. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    While ur waiting, u can always buy a USB cellular modem, somewhat easier than setting up a hotspot.
  6. rezwits thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2007
    Las Vegas
    Yeah true

    Yeah true...
  7. Acorn macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2009
    using the iphone as a hotspot sucks. its a great way to suck the battery life out of your phone in 20 minutes. adding the mac air to my verizon shared data plan would be ideal.
  8. TPadden, Jan 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013

    TPadden macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2010
    I've used my Razr Maxx as a WiFi hotspot for over 8 hours and still had 30% battery ......Fairly similar result with iPad3 as my WiFi hotspot :)

    You can also use USB to connect the iphone hotspot and charge your iphone at the same time off the MBA ( I can with the iPad or Razr). At least as easy as a USB cellular modem - leave hotspot on, WiFi and Bluetooth off and plug or unplug USB at will.

    Just carry iphone, a USB cord, and MBA ......... sucks only the MBA battery .
  9. 53x12 macrumors 68000


    Feb 16, 2009
    Why not this or similar?

  10. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2010
    MobileShare for laptops and the USB dongles is $20/month, not $10.
    $10/month is for tablets and PS Vita.
  11. Jason99kr macrumors member


    Nov 12, 2008
    Seattle, WA, USA
    I don't think it's gonna happen. They already have service with iPad and iPhone. I would add more possibility if They had LTE option on iPod touch. And I believe LTE on MacBook Air is pretty useless
  12. iamsen47 macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2012
    Kobe, Japan
  13. robopath macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2010
    I tether to my iphone via bluetooth daily. There is a huge difference in battery drain between bluetooth and wifi. I leave hotspot on 24/7 and there is no drain unless I am connected and even then it's not that bad. Also with bluetooth, you can initiate the connection from the air and you never need to touch the phone. It's 1 click and takes about 3-5 seconds to initiate.
    Using wifi, it turns on the wifi radio for 5 minutes and you have to toggle it off and on to connect after that. And it does crush the battery.
  14. rezwits thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2007
    Las Vegas
    I decided to go ahead because

    After looking at the $699 models from MacConnection, I was in line to go ahead and get one for that price, I figured this is a pretty good deal, instead of waiting for Apple to release a new model with built in 4G/LTE

    The reason why was because on the MacBook 11 1.6 GHz (2011) it has Bluetooth v4.0 and the iPhone 5 has Bluetooth v4.0, and I figure if I they both, just got a nice Bluetooth v4.0 connection for internet, with the new Low Energy spec (BLE), this should be a really clean connection.

    So I am excited, but last minute Best Buy decided to drop in too, $100 more ($799) for the 1.7 64 GB with USB3, so I said forget it, ponied up and went down to Best Buy, I also decided to go with the 128 GB instead because I added up apps to 64GBs and that would go quick, you could do things tho with the USB 3 and flash drives which could work, I figured the 64GB 2011 with USB2 swapping flash drives would kinda suck.

    So $899 + tax. They suckered me in yeah. But this is going to be really nice I think the Bluetooth v4.0 chips from the iPhone and Air should be really similar, so this will be it for 2 years I think, until a Natural 4G/LTE built-in.

    Thanks all, laters...
  15. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    For those talking about iPhone tethering, why not USB tether?

    I know it's not the most ideal or sleek solution, but it DOES work and it DOES keep the iPhone charged. On my 13" MacBook Pro I'm able to tether with my iPhone for a solid 5 or 6 hours via USB while the iPhone remains at a 100% charge. (A couple weeks ago I had a meeting several hours away and my wife tagged along, and we switched on and off the driving but both used the MBP non-stop to surf the web and stuff, after about 5 and a half hours it was still online, though nearing dead! I do have a power inverter but I was curious to see how long the battery would last).

    But with USB, you don't need to go out and buy any new devices, or worry about iPhone battery life. Also, bluetooth tethering will reduce battery drain quite a bit over Wi-Fi tethering if it just MUST be wireless.

    There's also 4G/LTE USB dongles that are not too expensive. If I were going to buy something, I'd take that over a mobile hotspot box. At least, for my uses. My iPad and iPhone already have 3G/4G/LTE, and having something else with a battery to maintain on a trip would be a pain. I'd rather just stick a USB stick in.

    Years ago I was 'tethering' with a PC card, a 3G modem. I had unlimited data for $10/month with AT&T, I'd take the SIM card out of my cellphone and stick it in the PC card. The PC card would send/receive text messages and phone calls too (you had to plug a headset into the card though for phone calls) and I'd be online and good to go! It doesn't work anymore though. First off, none of my laptops have a PC card slot anymore (Expresscard if anything). Secondly, it won't work with an iPhone data plan!

    Apple did experiment with a 3G enabled MacBook Pro years ago. I'd like a 4G/LTE MacBook Pro if I could add it to my AT&T share plan for the same price as a tablet! ($10/mo.) If it cost any more than that I'd just tether, I'm cheap like that!

    I dunno if we'll ever see it though. It's sort of a niche product. There's not a huge demand for folks that need internet on the go who also can't nab it wherever they are. Honestly, I use tethering most on the road when I have another driver. Occasionally if the internet goes down at home (I have a fairly unreliable ISP), but that's about it.
  16. Mackan macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2007
    Apple could of course add cellular LTE support into the MacBook Air line, but they never will. They want you to buy an iPad instead. You are simply the modern victim of how a company operates today, in terms of product differentiation and maximizing profits.
  17. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    My iPhone Hotspot is on 24/7 - doesn't drain the battery unless someone is connected.

    WiFi connections - Have to activate that screen in options for the WiFi to show up as it turns off the WiFi after X minutes of inactivity. When connected via this method, the battery drains fast (maybe 3-4 hours?).

    USB connections - Just plug it in and you're on. No need to unlock the phone and dink around with settings (as long as you leave the hotspot on all the time like me). Negative is having to carry a cable with you.

    Bluetooth - Haven't tried. Though I might now.

    I use 5-80GB/month from tethering. It isn't that bad.
  18. PittAir macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2008
    Connect an iPhone with personal hotspot on through USB.

    It charges while connected to LTE. Battery loss from the Air is minimal. No extra charges for a new device on your Verizon account. No schellping an iPad.

    It's one extra cable connection. Handshake is instantaneous.

    If you travel internationally, you are not stuck to the original provider, since you can swap out the nano SIM for you carrier of choice.

    Given this, I'm not sure why a built in LTE makes any sense.

    Note that almost all laptop makers (besides Apple) have abandoned this feature.
  19. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    Untrue. A.) Apple has never offered this feature, ever. and B.) I just quoted models from Dell, Lenovo, HP, and Fujitsu for a new work laptop, all of which offered it on multiple models. I ended up with an X230 with WWAN built in, for the record.
  20. thehustleman macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2013
    Don't forget the fact that when a call comes in your connection gets knocked offline.

    I phone 5 is the only LTE phone that doesn't do simultaneous data and voice
  21. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    Uh, HSDPA+ still works on calls... Only the Verizon phones are really totally affected. LTE might not work, but that isn't really a deal killer.
  22. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    With a GSM carrier you can. I'm able to chat on the phone while using LTE data. It is unfortunate because simultaneous data and voice is for the first time possible with CDMA carriers with LTE, but the apple lacks a third antenna to handle that.

    But, again, on a GSM carrier it works fine. And that's still many of us, and almost everyone internationally.
  23. thehustleman macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2013

    Yeah it does work on GSM.

    But apple decided to disable it for CDMA which was yet another limitation on the device.

    A bad decision
  24. el-John-o, Jan 27, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013

    el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Well, Apple didn't 'disable' it. People make it sound like these handset manufacturers flip a switch and turn off simultaneous voice and data.

    It's a limitation of CDMA. CDMA cannot handle simultaneous voice and data, period. The iPhone 5 only has one radio. The reason LTE works on OTHER CDMA phones for simultaneous voice and data is that they use the same CDMA chip as before, but ADD an extra LTE chip. So on those phones, you can talk via the CDMA chip, and pull data via the LTE chip.

    With the single radio though, it can't connect to both CDMA and LTE at the same time. Think of it like the radio in your car. Your one radio can't play two stations at the same time, you need a second radio. CDMA only comes in mono (like AM) so you need two radios to get both sides of the signal (voice and data) otherwise you only get one at a time. GSM is like Stereo FM, you can bring in two channels (voice and data) at once on one radio. Currently, LTE is data only, so it itself can't carry both channels (voice and data) you have to simultaneously connect with a voice radio.

    The reason it works on GSM, is that LTE is based on the same frequencies as GSM. So it's already tuned to the same station. So it is two separate technologies working together, but they are on the same station so it can still pull both channels. (LTE Data and GSM voice) So it can pull data, and simultaneously connect with the tower and make a voice call or send/receive a text message.

    If you need simultaneous voice/data on CDMA, you need a device with two radios. Apple says they couldn't make that happen in the form factor of the iPhone, while still making it a 'world phone'. (One that can operate on either CDMA or GSM networks, which is useful for CDMA users who travel outside the US, which is pretty much the only country still using the older CDMA technology). There are some other handsets that are a bit bigger and/or lack GSM capability, so they are able to fit two radios instead of just one.

    So, the bottom line is, it's carrier limitation. It's not like Apple can just 'turn it on'. CDMA won't work alongside LTE, the radio itself has to change frequencies to move on to LTE, and change again to go back to CDMA. CDMA itself is unable to handle both data and voice, it's a limitation of the technology.

    Unfortunately, the issue we have in the United States is that we are sometimes the first to adopt certain technologies. Even if they are invented elsewhere, we are often the first to deploy it on a big scale (at least for now). That means that we get the kinks figured out, then everyone ELSE starts fresh with that knowledge in mind. CDMA is a result of that. CDMA does have a longer signal range, but it has certain limitations (beyond just voice and data) that make GSM a better deal, which is why the near-entire rest of the world uses it. But, CDMA made sense in the large and not-so-dense US back when cellphones weren't smartphones! The cost of switching those carriers over to GSM would be tremendous, unless something happens like with telephone lines, where the federal government forced providers to 'share' their lines so a customer could have any telephone provider, even if it wasn't the one who ran the telephone wire down their road. If that happened, Verizon and Sprint could use GSM towers already in existance. But I don't see that happening, and it's not as necessary with cell providers as it was with terrestrial land lines years ago (companies would severely gouge people who had no choice in telephone providers, because they had to go with whoever ran the wire down the pole! There was no competition)
  25. JoeyCloverfield macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2012
    I've always believed that a mobile hot spot is the best solution when it comes to connecting non-smartphone portable devices to the internet. Your device is not stuck to one carrier and prices are cheaper. Plus, hot-spots aren't that expensive without contract so you can just activate the service in the months you'll really need it. The only benefit about built in data is that you spend almost no time connecting. That's great, but IMO the benefits outweigh the cost.

    Edit: By hot-spots I mean a separate device meant only to be used as a hot spot not an iPhone using the "Personal Hotspot" feature.

Share This Page