Why does Apple refuse to put cellular modems in laptops?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by thinkdesign, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. thinkdesign macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2010
    The cyber-hippie-dippie optimism that mobile computing could rely on open wi-fi's everywhere, crashed and burned many years ago.

    Now the norm everyhere I've been, is that wi-fis are locked, even if your device's initial search survey doesn't say so. (Try to connect with one of those wi-fis that initially seem unlocked, and then it becomes clear that it IS locked.)

    My city was one of the several that said they'd build a free wi-fi system and then didn't do it.

    Steve Jobs seems to have snoozed through all this history, like Rip Van Winkle. Everyone else offers cellular modem options, while Apple stubbornly drags its feet. While yammering about "mobility."

    What on earth is Jobs's problem with this? Perhaps Apple's Board of Directors needs to step in and make the decision for him?

    If he's the genius the media all say he is, why is he so stubbornly stupid on this question?
  2. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    very few would use it, and it would eat up battery.
    buy a mobile card or w/e and get over it. Apple doesn’t have to do absolutely everything just because people want it.
  3. bigjobby macrumors 65816

    Apr 7, 2010
    London, UK
    Really can't see the point. Probably 99.9% (or thereabouts) of owners would have no use for this feature and mobile broadband via USB dongles are readily available from all major networks anyway. Personally I've only seen this feature on a selected number of business class Windows laptops (eg. Thinkpad T series).

    Besides, sticking in a cellular modem is probably not a good idea with the arrival of 4G technology. 3G networks will be old hat soon and there's no point sticking in WiMax inside an MBP if the majority of countries are moving towards LTE instead blah blah blah. External dongle solution is way better IMO.
  4. MacModMachine macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
    mobile broadband cards are a waste, thats why there not as available as external usb based ones are....

    if the technology changes so will the hardware so instead of replacing a WWAN card in your laptop you can simply get a new usb modem/ phone (tethering)
  5. elleana macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2009
    Do you really want your laptop locked to AT&T too???
  6. aeboi macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2009
    Bay Area
  7. warrena macrumors member


    Jun 29, 2010
    DFW area
    I use the Verizon MiFi - it is portable, works with any device I have (laptop, iPad, etc.) and I can upgrade it/change it out when technology changes.
  8. BobbyCarbn macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2009
    I can imagine the threads here now:




    Get a MiFi and be happy you can have your iPhone, iPad, iTouch and Macbook all on the net at the same time!
  9. Frosties macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    It's from the design point that Apple only think and develop computers and phones for the US market. The iphone and the macbook program (the air would be my first choice to get 3G) has been held back in development due to AT&T crappy 3G network. That is how it is and we can be as frustrated as a beer drinker with boxing gloves on about this but it doesn't change anything.
  10. wilycoder macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2008
    OP are you mad I get wifi tethering at 4g speeds with my EVO?
  11. oilfighter macrumors regular

    May 14, 2008
    A few reasons comes to mind

    - AT&T and Apple can't come to an agreement on the data plan. Apple probably will want to push for unlimited data, and AT&T wants a tiered plan.
    - AT&T can't handle another major drain in their data pipeline
    - Verizon probably want more money and more control than AT&T if Apple wants to go with them
    - Steve Job found some minor detail that will detract user for the overall Apple experience
    - Apple wants you to buy an iPad
    - AT&T wants you to sign up for the $20 tether option, to get on the same internet as your iphone

    take your pick
  12. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    sounds like you need moar wifi. Move closer to the city. I can reach numerous hotspots in my apartment with 5 of them being unprotected (whilst mine uses WPA2 for all of my clients w/ hidden SSID, mac addy filtering, static IPs and operating @ low power level which limits range)
  13. Betelgeuse macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2008
    Of course, the solution to this is to bring back the ExpressCard slot on all the MBPs. That way, you can have a nice 3G access card that is upgradable, but hidden (really, people? you actually are advocating a USB dongle?!). In addition, it gives people choice; for those who don't want a cell-network-based access card, they can get all sorts of other different hardware.
  14. thinkdesign thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2010
    illogical defenses of status quo...

    1.) The fact that other laptop makers offer optional (repeat: optional) cell modems, all by itself proves that Apple has no engineering excuse. Next!

    2.) "Do you really want your laptop locked to ATT too?" Why? Has one iota of evidence ever surfaced indicating that the iPhone contract between ATT & Apple extends to laptops too? No. Next!

    3.) (Post #11) No. I looked at the Sprint Evo 2 weeks ago, when my mostly-wonderful HTC Touch Pro died. What wasn't wonderful about it was that I had to carry the charger around, because my heavy use would run the battery down by mid-afternoon.

    The Sprint Evo's battery life is apparently even less sufficient. To gain what, a slight speed bump? While boosting my monthly bill? Sprint charges you for the 4G from day one, even if 4G service hasn't yet arrived in your area.

    4.) Until 4G began to come along, what was the "flexibility to upgrade" excuse 5 years ago and ten years ago that held back Apple, but not the other laptop companies, from offering a cell modem option? This excuse is particularly silly because 4G modems are backwards compatible to 3G.

    If the 3 to 4G upgrade potential is Apple's excuse du jour.... they could in the next few years... offer Sprint 3/4G as soon as that 4G network's mostly up and running. And add the ATT 3/4G modem option as soon as that 4G network's mostly operating. Same with Verizon.

    But there are people like me who would be happy with 3G only.... because the price for that is high enough already, and I don't value the extra speed of 4G enough to pay any more for that.

    Some people might want to have whatever company provides their cell phone service handle the computer's too, just to avoid one more separate bill.

    Options. It's all about giving people options.
  15. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    Buy a cellular USB drive
    buy a different computer
    stop complaining about useless features
    GTFO :)

    those are your options
  16. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Everything that has already been said in this thread. And I'll add that, for me at least, having a pre-installed, non-removable cellular modem pre-installed would be a de-motivator in my buying decision. For people that already want cellular modems, you likely already have one with a multi-month/year service contract already in place. So I'd be making my buying decision and this "feature" would irritate me that I'm paying more for the equipment pre-installed and its not even usable to me.
  17. bigjobby macrumors 65816

    Apr 7, 2010
    London, UK
    An expresscard would be nice for increased versatility but don't knock the USB solution. More networks in many countries offer broadband dongles solutions than expresscard due to the fact that USB is ubiquitous on all computers unlike expresscard. Due to the demand of these USB devices, manufacturing costs per unit is cheaper and because of more competing networks offering this solution and market forces, prices are cheaper.

    1. It is probably more likely to be a marketing excuse than the aforementioned.

    4. This is true/untrue per se. There are two competing technologies in the 4G arena, WiMax and LTE (Long Term Evolution). 4G Wimax (as used by Sprint) is not backward compatible as it is based on a different technology to 3G networks however LTE (as adopted by Verizon and AT&T) is. In a nutshell, 4G has not been fully rolled out or is not not going to be in the vast majority of the world for a while until the required bandwidths in their radio spectrum becomes available. When it is, existing 3G base stations can be rapidly upgraded to accommodate 4G LTE. Unlike Wimax where all new base stations have to be erected hence much slower rollouts and higher expenses. At the end of the day both offer their own pro's and con's.

    Anyway back to the topic, if the market is not crying out for built-in cellular modems then why implement it? I certainly wouldn't put it in the top 5 on feature request/change list. I would rather see things like expresscard, USB 3.0, Blu-ray, ease the sharpness of the near-side edge of the unibody, spill-proof keyboards, OSX tweaks etc. At least these will get rid of half the threads on these forums! :D

    As far as options go, why not get a USB broadband dongle? That's what USB is for too... options.
  18. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040


    May 20, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    This was purely sarcasm.
  19. vant macrumors 65816

    Jul 1, 2009

    In regards to cellular modems, they have USB dongles for that. Driving up the cost of hardware for 100% of the customers to benefit 3% is not ideal. "They could make it optional!" yeah and add more SKUs? No thanks.

    This problem is just easily solved by a USB dongle.
  20. Aldaris macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2004
    Salt Lake
    Well, you might hold it the wrong way :)

    I jest, really do we all need to be tied to AT&T through our phones, ipads, and now our macs... Steve save us.
  21. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    You could BTO or choose at an Apple store which radio you'd need.
  22. andrew086 macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2009
    ummm... let me get this straight: you can't afford internet but you can afford a macbook pro? unless you're on the go, this doesn't make much sense. usually if you need to have internet 24/7 and you travel a lot, you should probably have a usb 3g/4g stick
  23. Meever macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2009
    Can you buy any half decent priced data off contract? And if you're going on contract don't those companies usually throw in a USB modem or some kind of tetering tool (like mifi)? Or hell, just teter off your smartphone.
  24. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I'd love a mobile service for my Macbook, something internal with no network locks. I'd just use it for emails on the go. Mifi would be overkill.

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