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

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Apr 12, 2001
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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:
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
 
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pewra

macrumors regular
Jun 26, 2011
149
0
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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StealthGhost

macrumors regular
Oct 13, 2010
131
0
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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ri0ku

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2009
952
0
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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winston1236

macrumors 68000
Dec 13, 2010
1,884
303
definitely shows its age haha, remember when all the cell phones had those antennas?
 
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crisss1205

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2008
813
101
NYC
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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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,796
14,427
Central U.S.
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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cshearer

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Aug 1, 2011
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A5288d)

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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ri0ku

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2009
952
0
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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*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
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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iCould

macrumors newbie
Aug 14, 2011
2
0
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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Rocketman

macrumors 603
Excuse me. That's not a rumor, it's a fact! :D

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.

Rocketman
 
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wordoflife

macrumors 604
Jul 6, 2009
7,563
34
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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thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,118
994
Pennsylvania
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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Popeye206

macrumors 68040
Sep 6, 2007
3,148
836
NE PA USA
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. :D

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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goobot

macrumors 603
Jun 26, 2009
5,665
2,202
long island NY
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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