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Source: Apple may build 3G wireless into future notebook model

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
Apple Inc.'s next big step into wireless may well be an integrated cellular broadband module, says one source -- but would have a unique spin on an established formula.

An unproven but seemingly credible source has told AppleInsider that a new wireless module is allegedly in the works for Apple that will deliver third-generation cellular Internet access in a future Mac notebook model.

Declining to provide company names due to the sensitive nature of the work, the industry source claims that Apple has asked for a PCI Express mini-card adapter that would be integrated within its portables and provide WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network) connections without resorting to an external ExpressCard or USB modem.

This sort of integration is far from new to the industry. Dell, HP, and many other top-tier notebook PC makers regularly offer these internal adapters as a factory-installed part for some of their models, especially business systems. Unlike Wi-Fi, however, the cost -- which typically sits at $180 or higher -- discourages most builders from including the adapter by default. The Apple module would most likely fit that pattern and come only as an option, according to the source.

As is often the case with Apple, however, the implementation is said to be anything but standard.

Most internal 3G cards are installed near the logicboard for reasons of convenience and space. Not so with Apple, which is reportedly looking to install the 3G card inside the display lid. The unique position would be used to improve the card's overall performance by distancing it from the electromagnetic interference near the mainboard as well as lifting the receiver to a less obstructed position.

By doing this, Apple would improve the signal reception of the 3G card and (by extension) improve the transfer speeds, according to the source.

What's unclear from the report, however, is which networks Apple is looking to support. The source was unable to identifying whether or not Apple would produce a card for EVDO Internet access, which is supported by Sprint and Verizon in the US, or HSDPA, supported by AT&T and European carriers.

Apple already has a connection to AT&T's network through the agreements made for the iPhone, though neither company has revealed plans for Internet access beyond the handset's support for the slower 2.5G EDGE network. At the same time, the computer designer may have established the preliminary software groundwork for either AT&T or its rivals through the February WWAN update that added drivers for select EVDO and HSDPA external cards.

Also unclear was which systems would be the first to receive the 3G module. The contact shortlisted the MacBook Pro as a possible candidate, but declined to say whether the adapter would be ready in time for the near-future update. Then, of course, there's also that sub-notebook due out from the Cupertino-based Mac maker around year's-end.

If the source proves to be accurate, the add-on described to AppleInsider would give the company's notebooks greater equality with other pro-minded competitors, and potentially a slight advantage.
post #2 of 54
i think this is a great Idea!
post #3 of 54
When you say 3G, are we meant to assume GSM 3G?
post #4 of 54
exactly how fast is the 3G stuff in real life?
post #5 of 54
Yayyyy! Now I'll be able to buy a laptop with built-in cell technology that gets obsoleted every 3 months! Yayyyyyy!
post #6 of 54
No... Wrong.

Cell phones will soon be moving away from 3G and towards Wi-Max.

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been."

Anyone who believes this report is foolish.

-Clive
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post #7 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

No... Wrong.

Cell phones will soon be moving away from 3G and towards Wi-Max.

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been."

Anyone who believes this report is foolish.

-Clive

Except with Apple and mobile phone technology, they skate to where the puck was 2 years ago.
post #8 of 54
How come we'd rather believe an unproven source than an official spokesman?
post #9 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr O View Post

How come we'd rather believe an unproven source than an official spokesman?

Are you serious? Did you say that when "official spokesman" Steve Jobs said there would never be a Video iPod. Or when "official spokesman" Ari Fleischer said they have WMDs???
post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr O View Post

How come we'd rather believe an unproven source than an official spokesman?

The same reason people favor popular, unitelligent american consensus over authority in government: while the supreme know the whole story, the lesser wish to speculate on bits and pieces of information thrown from the media.

-=|Mgkwho
post #11 of 54
3g is huge everywhere but the USA. HSDPA is the next big thing.
post #12 of 54
The Santa Rosa platform was intended to include 3G's HSDPA and 4G's WiMAX. The following excerpt is from Wikipedia:

The chipset update was originally intended to include WWAN Internet access via HSDPA (code-named Windigo) codeveloped with Nokia. After announcing a working partnership, both later retracted the deal citing the lack of a clear business case for the technology.

Support for WiMAX (802.16) was originally scheduled for inclusion in Santa Rosa but appears to have been delayed until Montevina in 2008]. There have, however, been reports that WiMax may still be introduced in 2007.

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post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

No... Wrong.

Cell phones will soon be moving away from 3G and towards Wi-Max.

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been."

Anyone who believes this report is foolish.

-Clive

Just like it's ridiculous to make a car that runs on gas/petrol now while everyone knows all cars will drive electrical in a couple of months and gas/petrol stations will all close soon.

It makes sense to tap into a big and growing existing market instead of betting on a market that may or may not start to evolve within 1 to 10 years.
post #14 of 54
apple better not force you into a 2 year $40 or more a month data plan.
post #15 of 54
2.0 GHz MBP / 2GB RAM / 256 MB / 120 GB
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post #16 of 54
Hmmm. If true, I sense an upcoming tie-in here with Apple laptops and European/next-generation U.S. iPhones (which will very likely employ 3G by way of HSDPA): one service for all your mobile devices, built-in.

WiMax sounds nice, but it has to exist first.
post #17 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post

apple better not force you into a 2 year $40 or more a month data plan.

And why would they do that?
And just what makes you even think that they would do that?
And when have they evey made you do something like that?
post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

..or HSDPA, supported by AT&T and European carriers.

That's the one, just do it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

Also unclear was which systems would be the first to receive the 3G module. The contact shortlisted the MacBook Pro as a possible candidate

Wow, that must have taken them years.. I mean, what a huge list they weeded that down from, not.

This whole wireless-anywhere out-of-the-box for notebooks is a long long long long.. time coming.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morris View Post

Just like it's ridiculous to make a car that runs on gas/petrol now while everyone knows all cars will drive electrical in a couple of months and gas/petrol stations will all close soon.

That doesn't make sense. Petrol cars will still be used for the next 10 years at least; probably 20-30. 3G technology has 5 at best. Things change a little quicker in the computer industry than in the automotive industry.

3G, globally, is more on the way out than it is on the way in (even though the same might not be true in America). Besides, enabling it in a laptop would be pointless. Who on earth is going to want to pay phone companies an arm and a leg on a data-plan when they can go to the nearest coffee shop and surf for free? Enough places in the US have free Wi-Fi to render 3G-enabled laptops utterly useless.

-Clive
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post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

When you say 3G, are we meant to assume GSM 3G?

If Apple is smart, they should make available cards for both 3G GSM (HSPDA/UMTS) and 3G CDMA (EVDO).

While '3G GSM' is a lot more popular overseas, in the US it's a different story. Both Sprint and Verizon have significant EVDO (3G CDMA) networks, while ATT is the only real '3G GSM' network here (as T-Mobile does not have 3G in the US yet). So, that's something like double the US customer base with access to EVDO over access to HSPDA.

Wi-Max is coming to Sprint as well, but it probably won't be widespread 'til 2009 or so. \

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post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

No... Wrong.

Cell phones will soon be moving away from 3G and towards Wi-Max.

Not that soon. Sprint's the only major US wireless carrier who seems to be seriously building a Wi-Max network, and that network prolly won't be widespread 'til 2009 or so.

Wi-Max has been a bit bogged down here, despite initial rosy projections, for a number of reasons. \

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post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post

apple better not force you into a 2 year $40 or more a month data plan.

I don't think the competitors do that. I would expect that you can probably just buy the notebook without buying a data plan, leave the cellular chip permanently idle or turned off. That's probably what I would do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Not that soon. Sprint's the only major US wireless carrier who seems to be seriously building a Wi-Max network, and that network prolly won't be widespread 'til 2009 or so.

I think it's just two cities for this year, and a few more next year. There are smaller operations in pilot programs, but it's not even a blip yet. There is little point in including a chip that only very few can even receive yet. The real concern is whether WiMax will become viable before other technologies supersede it. I wanted it three years ago, not three years from now, by then, I expect the mobile industry will choose something else and WiMax would unfortunately be only left to niche uses.
post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

That doesn't make sense. Petrol cars will still be used for the next 10 years at least; probably 20-30. 3G technology has 5 at best. Things change a little quicker in the computer industry than in the automotive industry.

5 years, or 10, or 20, it doesn't matter, people will still want to take advantage of 3G while it's available.

Quote:
3G, globally, is more on the way out than it is on the way in (even though the same might not be true in America).

You're right, in the US, 3G just got here not long ago, shows no signs of dying out very soon, and Wi-Max is more hype and hope than reality thus far.

Quote:
Besides, enabling it in a laptop would be pointless. Who on earth is going to want to pay phone companies an arm and a leg on a data-plan when they can go to the nearest coffee shop and surf for free? Enough places in the US have free Wi-Fi to render 3G-enabled laptops utterly useless.

Heh... actually, there are wireless carrier commercials in the US that poke fun at that very notion.

They show a 'hapless road-warrior business person' trying do work on his laptop while stuck in a noisy coffee shop, while the 'happy road-warrior business person' with 3G gets to do his work pretty much anywhere. Wi-fi hot spots are great (and are a big part of T-Mobile's US strategy) but haven't obsoleted 3G in laptops in any way in the US, simply because office workers don't want to tied to hot spots, they want access anyplace, anytime.

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post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Most internal 3G cards are installed near the logicboard for reasons of convenience and space. Not so with Apple, which is reportedly looking to install the 3G card inside the display lid. The unique position would be used to improve the card's overall performance by distancing it from the electromagnetic interference near the mainboard as well as lifting the receiver to a less obstructed position.

By doing this, Apple would improve the signal reception of the 3G card and (by extension) improve the transfer speeds, according to the source.


Here's an idea - how abot improving signal reception of WiFi first....I'm tired of sitting in conferences unable to pick up signals when the Dell or Thinkpad next to me has near full signal strength. (And no it is not just my machine - all of my colleagues in the room have the same issue)
post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

They show a 'hapless road-warrior business person' trying do work on his laptop while stuck in a noisy coffee shop, while the 'happy road-warrior business person' with 3G gets to do his work pretty much anywhere. Wi-fi hot spots are great (and are a big part of T-Mobile's US strategy) but haven't obsoleted 3G in laptops in any way in the US, simply because office workers don't want to tied to hot spots, they want access anyplace, anytime.

And you aren't held hostage to airports and hotels that do charge for Internet, which I've seen go for $6/hr or $10 a day. In some cases, it might make more sense to pay those fees rather than buy 3G service (I don't travel much), but I think the choice is good.
post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

That doesn't make sense. Petrol cars will still be used for the next 10 years at least; probably 20-30. 3G technology has 5 at best. Things change a little quicker in the computer industry than in the automotive industry.
-Clive

Yep, how stupid of them to sell computers with Core Duo (ie, 32 bit), when about one year later people where buying only Core 2 Duo (64 bit) models [from Apple].
post #27 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I don't think the competitors do that. I would expect that you can probably just buy the notebook without buying a data plan, leave the cellular chip permanently idle or turned off. That's probably what I would do.

Didn't the article say that the cellular chip would be optional, not included mandatorily?

The Apple module would most likely fit that pattern and come only as an option, according to the source.


Quote:
I think it's just two cities for [Wi-Max] this year, and a few more next year. There are smaller operations in pilot programs, but it's not even a blip yet.

Yep, in '07 and '08, there will be very little Wi-Max available in the US.


Quote:
There is little point in including a chip that only very few can even receive yet. The real concern is whether WiMax will become viable before other technologies supersede it. I wanted it three years ago, not three years from now, by then, I expect the mobile industry will choose something else and WiMax would unfortunately be only left to niche uses.

Most people seem to be predicting that 3G and Wi-Max will co-exist happily and compete in coming years, and that neither is going to bite the dust soon. Quite a change from a couple of years ago, when the conventional wisdom was that Wi-Max was going to be a complete game-changer and 3G was 'dead'. \

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post #28 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Didn't the article say that the cellular chip would be optional, not included mandatorily?

The Apple module would most likely fit that pattern and come only as an option, according to the source.

Even though I don't expect to use it, I would rather it be built-in given Apple's tendency to make adding wireless a little difficult.
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Even though I don't expect to use it, I would rather it be built-in given Apple's tendency to make adding wireless a little difficult.

I see where you're coming from, but then there's the cost to consider:

This sort of integration is far from new to the industry. Dell, HP, and many other top-tier notebook PC makers regularly offer these internal adapters as a factory-installed part for some of their models, especially business systems. Unlike Wi-Fi, however, the cost -- which typically sits at $180 or higher -- discourages most builders from including the adapter by default.

Optional seems to be the way to go. I think a lot of users would be angry to be forced to pay $180 for something they won't use.

It doesn't seem to be like wi-fi, which is relatively cheap to include.

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post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

That doesn't make sense. Petrol cars will still be used for the next 10 years at least; probably 20-30. 3G technology has 5 at best. Things change a little quicker in the computer industry than in the automotive industry.

3G, globally, is more on the way out than it is on the way in (even though the same might not be true in America). Besides, enabling it in a laptop would be pointless. Who on earth is going to want to pay phone companies an arm and a leg on a data-plan when they can go to the nearest coffee shop and surf for free? Enough places in the US have free Wi-Fi to render 3G-enabled laptops utterly useless.

-Clive

3G is not on its way out. On the contrary.

Where WiMax may be popular for the promise of connecting remote communities in the third world, it does not appear that popular with existing Telcos. Existing Telcos have invested heavily in GSM and its successor 3G and regularly perform 'simple' software upgrades on their networks to get the newest flavour of 3G. It is relatively cheap to perform a software upgrade to have your existing hardware remain current for another two years at least. There are still at least two software upgrades on the horizon after HSDPA (which is now being rolled out) for existing 3G networks which deliver impressive improvements. LTE, a 3G flavour to be rolled out from 2009, being the most clear at the moment. When the last performance improvements may have been squeezed out of 3G in a few years, the move to 4G will be relatively easy.

It is telling that a huge supplier of Telco-hardware, Ericsson, has just pulled the plug on its Wimax development because they have lost faith in it ever being able to keep up or becoming a serious threat to 3G. The reason Intel is still a huge Wimax backer is probably mainly because they are the biggest supplier of Wimax technology and have a market to gain.


These are Ericsson's market predictions. WCDMA/HSPA and LTE = 3G.

Arthur D. Little:
Report: 3G Bests WiMax
Quote:
With over 93 commercial networks in operation, HSPA is likely to account for the majority of investment in global mobile broadband networks over the next five years, finds a new study by Arthur D. Little. By comparison mobile WiMax will be a niche technology within the overall global mobile broadband wireless access market, likely to account for at most 15% of this network equipment market and perhaps 10% of mobile broadband wireless subscribers by 2011-2012.

As for your hotspot argument. Payphones have never kept people from switching to mobile phones. You'd have to specifically go to a place to receive your e-mail. Some people may still be willing to live with that, an increasing amount just wants to receive e-mail where they are, not where they could be.
post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

They show a 'hapless road-warrior business person' trying do work on his laptop while stuck in a noisy coffee shop, while the 'happy road-warrior business person' with 3G gets to do his work pretty much anywhere. Wi-fi hot spots are great (and are a big part of T-Mobile's US strategy) but haven't obsoleted 3G in laptops in any way in the US, simply because office workers don't want to tied to hot spots, they want access anyplace, anytime.

Okay, I've never had a major problem with busy hot-spots, but might I suggest to any "road warriors" as such to invest in a $30 pair of noise-canceling headphones?

You're probably right about the "hype-factor" of Wi-Max, but I think it holds more promise than 3G since it's based on the existing wi-fi technology in our computers today.

-Clive
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post #32 of 54
A somewhat amusing article about divergent opinions on the future of Wi-Max:

WiMax Is A Huge Success! No, It's Dead! It's A Success! It's Dead!

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060407/1010235.shtml

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post #33 of 54
What speed offers 3G?

Download?
Upload?

Thanks.
post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

Yep, how stupid of them to sell computers with Core Duo (ie, 32 bit), when about one year later people where buying only Core 2 Duo (64 bit) models [from Apple].

Except increasing processor speeds/bit counts doesn't affect normal operation. 3G has one application.

Only pro-users will notice increments in proc. speeds/bit counts. The average user who surfs the internet, types documents and listens to iTunes would still be fine with a G4... or if they bought a C2D now, would be fine for the next 6 years. It would be idiotic for them to aspire for the newest tech.

(I can vouch for this argument because I'm using a Rev1 G4 iMac at a speedy 800MHz and I can still run Safari, Word, iTunes and AIM simultaneously... or I can run Garage Band and/or iMovie if I shut everything else down. If I wasn't a prosumer, I'd be sufficiently pleased with my computer's performance after 5 years. Plus I haven't cleaned house for several years, so that might improve performance if I had a little over my existing free space: 1GB. )

If, going along with your argument, someone got a 3G-enabled MBP, in 5 years when 3G is obsolete, that feature will be also. The computer itself will still be running fine, except will include the extra dead weight of a 3G card. Intel scrapped 3G integration for a reason. It's just another passing protocol. Wi-Max, on the other hand, will likely form the basis of our internet-using experience for the next, possibly 20 years.

-Clive
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post #35 of 54
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post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

If, going along with your argument, someone got a 3G-enabled MBP, in 5 years when 3G is obsolete, that feature will be also. The computer itself will still be running fine, except will include the extra dead weight of a 3G card.

Even if 3G were to become obsolete in 5 years (in which case you may be able to plug a compatible, faster, and non-obsolete '3.5G' card in there)... so what? You're likely to replace your laptop after 5 years as well. The average upgrade cycle is a bit shorter than that, actually.

Quote:
Intel scrapped 3G integration for a reason. It's just another passing protocol. Wi-Max, on the other hand, will likely form the basis of our internet-using experience for the next, possibly 20 years.

Intel scrapped 3G integration because it wants to push WiMax, as Intel is a premier supplier of WiMax chips and hardware- not so with 3G chips and hardware. The incentive for them was monetary, not techno-visionary.

Regardless of Intel's stance (and bear in mind that Intel doesn't have major clout in the cellphone/wireless-carrier world), it is very questionable whether WiMax is going to win out over 3G. \ Its much more likely that WiMax and 3G will co-exist and compete for quite some time to come.

The Arthur Little study that Morris linked to was a good read about 3G vs WiMax:

http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=116861

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post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Didn't the article say that the cellular chip would be optional, not included mandatorily?

The Apple module would most likely fit that pattern and come only as an option, according to the source.



Yep, in '07 and '08, there will be very little Wi-Max available in the US.



Most people seem to be predicting that 3G and Wi-Max will co-exist happily and compete in coming years, and that neither is going to bite the dust soon. Quite a change from a couple of years ago, when the conventional wisdom was that Wi-Max was going to be a complete game-changer and 3G was 'dead'. \

.

I bought stock in Clearwire the day after the IPO, recently.

While I think that this is a long term proposition, and it will likely never take the industry over, I feel as though the growth possibilities are great. Never bet against Craig McCaw.

http://www.clearwire.com/company/news/07_05_06.php

In the short term, I could have made mucho more money (instead of the stock being down) by buying more Apple stock, but who knew it would shoot up so much, so fast?

http://clearwire.com/?gclid=COXKvIyhjowCFRKsGgoddTPDAg

Every time we see more WiMax support coming in the hardware And software, it gices the company more potential customers.
post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I bought stock in Clearwire the day after the IPO, recently.

While I think that this is a long term proposition, and it will likely never take the industry over, I feel as though the growth possibilities are great. Never bet against Craig McCaw.

Buying into Clearwire is a good move. They own a lot of WiMax licenses/spectrum, and speculation is that Sprint will have need of said spectrum/licenses plus roaming agreements with Clearwire's network to get their WiMax network rolling out the way they need to. Not to mention spectrum swaps.

Still, keep in mind that initially, Clearwire had to be paid-off by Intel to go with WiMax:

http://news.techdirt.com/news/wireless/article/4678

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post #39 of 54
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Originally Posted by mgkwho View Post

The same reason people favor popular, unitelligent american consensus over authority in government: while the supreme know the whole story, the lesser wish to speculate on bits and pieces of information thrown from the media.

-=|Mgkwho

Yes, because "authority in government" is always correct, and always have the interest of "unitelligent (sic) americans" at heart.
post #40 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Buying into Clearwire is a good move. They own a lot of WiMax licenses/spectrum, and speculation is that Sprint will have need of said spectrum/licenses plus roaming agreements with Clearwire's network to get their WiMax network rolling out the way they need to. Not to mention spectrum swaps.

Still, keep in mind that initially, Clearwire had to be paid-off by Intel to go with WiMax:

http://news.techdirt.com/news/wireless/article/4678

.

The whole thing is interesting because McCaw started the whole wireless industry.
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