Will we ever see built in cellular networking in a Mac notebook?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ShaneBunting, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. ShaneBunting Suspended

    Aug 10, 2009
    United Kingdom
    My question is simple,

    Will we ever see built in cellular networking in a Mac notebook?

    It would be nice to have, especially the 11" Air. Not everywhere I go has Wifi, and having a big dongle (thicker than the Air!?) hanging off it is a real downer for such a nice product.

    Would any of you pay, say.. $79 / £49 for one built in and a sim-card slot next to the SD slot... ?
  2. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    I think (and someone will correct me if I'm wrong) it's a matter of different network types in different countries. For example, there are 5 models of the iPhone 5s:

    A1533: iPhone 5s (GSM model)
    A1533: iPhone 5s (CDMA model)
    A1453: iPhone 5s (CDMA model)
    A1457: iPhone 5s (GSM model)
    A1528: iPhone 5s (GSM model China)
    A1530: iPhone 5s

    It's more economical to do this because iPhones VASTLY outsell MacBooks
  3. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Basically, the above. Also, Apple has toyed with adding cellular networking in a MacBook Pro, but it never made it to market.

    The problem is that laptops are seen as more durable products than smartphones. People regularly keep laptops for 3, 4, 5 years or more, easy, while smartphones are upgraded far more quickly. So, it's more likely that a laptop will "age out" of the current cellular technology if there's a cell modem baked into it. Between that, and the sheer number of network configurations required, it's easier to just leave it out and let the user decide how they want to connect to the cellular network, if at all.

    You'd also have to deal with cellular carriers to buy laptops. Do you really want to buy a macbook pro at Verizon or AT&T?

    Any anyway, even the dongle is starting to go away. Hotspot devices which connect devices via Wifi, and even smartphones with a hotspot feature, are becoming more common. Since these are devices most people already have, it makes more sense to sell the smartphone AND the laptop, and just make sure there's a way to share internet from one device to the other.
  4. ShaneBunting thread starter Suspended

    Aug 10, 2009
    United Kingdom
    I would imagine they'd be unlocked, as with the iPads atm.

    Plus, they can update the technology as they update things such as Wifi, year on year. As for the user, well, new models with new technology are out all the time. Cellular would be no different.

    I see your point though.

    But I must add, in my opinion, anywhere with LTE/4G is more than likely going to have free Wifi seeing as it tends to be big US Cities, London etc.. Not the majority of us widespread worldwide users..
  5. stayley macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2013
    When I got back to Europe I was without a regular WiFi connection for a couple of weeks and I just tethered my phone through bluetooth. Simple, wireless, worked extremely well. Personally, wouldn't like to see it in laptops. Just another thing that might give you issues and there are very effective workarounds.
  6. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    And can you imagine/consider how much data a MBP consumes? And how much would the monthly bill be considering a measly 2 GB can costs $ 30.. Just picture someone downloading multi-GB movies....I shudder at the thought.

    The carriers would love the profits..assuming their networks could stand it.

    Still, they could presumably use a slot like the SD card slot for a cellular modem, but that would have to stick out for the antenna. Can't picture Apple doing that.
  7. shompa macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2002
    Remember that Apple had prototypes with 3G.

    We will never see laptops with 3G. The market is not there.
    Anyone with an laptop have a smartphone: just tether them. How hard is is?

    Why would you spend money on 2 data plans?

    I just dont understand people who have iphones and then get the 3G/4G iPad. Why not just use your phone as hotspot?
  8. Flynnstone macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    I can see the pros and cons.

    My wife and I have iPads with cellular.
    We also have keyboards (Zagg).
    It looks a lot like an Macbook Air with cellular!
    For my wife, an air with cellular would be perfect.
    iPad has problems on certain websites.

    Why not tether, simply easier to have 2 devices. iPad just works.
    Also our iPads are Verizon & phones are ATT. If one has coverage problems, the other usually works.
  9. filmbuff macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2011
    It seems like there are equally valid reasons for Apple to put 4g in a laptop though. Everything is moving steadily towards the cloud and away from onboard storage. In ~5 years most software will probably require an internet connection (like the new Adobe suite) so laptops will almost have to have a cellular connection.
  10. stayley macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2013
    Unless in 5 years cellular connection is obsolete for these purposes...
  11. yosemit macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2013
    Second this. When I'm on road, I use my MBA tethered with my cell phone through bluetooth (or Wi-Fi for higher bandwidth) to access the Internet. There is really no need for the MBA or any other laptops to have built-in 3G/4G connection.

  12. iWeekend macrumors regular

    Nov 28, 2012
    Until there is "one (LTE) chip to rule them all" count me out.

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