Apple predicted to launch a 5G MacBook Pro in 2020

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited August 2
Supply chain sources claim that Apple and other vendors are gearing up to launch a 5G MacBook Pro in 2020, with other vendors looking at production of cellular models utilizing the new network before the end of 2019.




Manufacturers expected to have 5G laptops in 2019 include Dell and HP, according to a report by supply chain monitor DigiTimes. The publication also claims that Apple will have one as well, with a design that is already allegedly complete now -- but will wait until the end of 2020 to deliver.

For 5G specifically, frequencies can be generally categorized into one of two groups -- low-frequency sub-6GHz bands, and higher-frequency 6GHz bands. The first low range consists of bands that are currently used for existing mobile network communications, as low as 600MHz and up to 2,600MHz, though it can also include "C-Bands" up to 4,700MHz.

The 6GHz band is referred to as mmWave in the US. It is the part of the 5G specification that delivers the fast speeds -- assuming that a handset is within the short range of a mmWave transmitter.

Not clear is what aspects of 5G that Apple may be looking at for a 5G Mac. Any mmWave signals would be completely defeated by an aluminum -- or plastic -- case, so the venue suspects that any 5G equipped Mac would need more ceramic antennae than an iPhone.

At present, it also isn't clear where DigiTimes is sourcing its information on a 5G Mac. The publication has a poor track record of predicting Apple features and timing, but does have hooks inside the supply chain.

Apple's purchase of Intel's 5G modem technologies won't be as helpful for the Mac as it is for the iPhone. Apple's purchase was for smartphone technologies, and Intel retained desktop and laptop modem patents.

Apple has been rumored for about a decade to be working on a LTE Mac -- including some generated by DigiTimes. Obviously, none of the rumors have come to fruition.

Apple's 5G efforts, as its LTE efforts, will likely be focused on the iPhone and iPad. Apple is expected to have 5G connectivity in the 2020 iPhone. It is generally believed that Apple will have three models, all of them OLED-based, in 5.4-, 6.1-, and 6.7-inch sizes, and all of them with 5G support.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Nice. Finally a MacBook that has cellular chip. I wonder why in the past years laptops in general don't have cellular built-in except mobile devices and tablets only. In today's age, we need it. I used to setup hotspot from my iPhone for my MacBook. But I couldn't now because I upgraded to unlimited cellular data and the hotspot feature is disabled from carrier. A G5 MacBook would fill that need.
    caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 31
    Nice. Finally a MacBook that has cellular chip. I wonder why in the past years laptops in general don't have cellular built-in except mobile devices and tablets only. In today's age, we need it. I used to setup hotspot from my iPhone for my MacBook. But I couldn't now because I upgraded to unlimited cellular data and the hotspot feature is disabled from carrier. A G5 MacBook would fill that need.
    Because WIFI hotspots are so prolific and because people don't want to pay for two separate data plans. Your phones hotspot feature works for the majority of people for the few times they need such functionality.  Carriers haven't helped, by charging outrageous prices for data-only plans.  So, for most people, they find WIFI, then go to their phone hotspot if WIFI isn't possible.

    Most unlimited plans I've seen have limited hotspot (usually pretty generous), not completely disabled hotspot.  I'd look for a different carrier!

    WWAN used to be a much-wanted feature years ago, but not so much any more.
    edited August 2 king editor the graterandominternetpersonchiafastasleep
  • Reply 3 of 31
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,197member
    Nice. Finally a MacBook that has cellular chip. I wonder why in the past years laptops in general don't have cellular built-in except mobile devices and tablets only. In today's age, we need it. I used to setup hotspot from my iPhone for my MacBook. But I couldn't now because I upgraded to unlimited cellular data and the hotspot feature is disabled from carrier. A G5 MacBook would fill that need.
    Do we?

    For me, it was certainly more of a desire back in the PowerBook days. Back when the iPhone didn't exist. When iPhone tethering wasn't built into iOS and have a wonderful little magic button in the Menu Bar's WiFi dropdown to choose tethering, all with its own little icon to make it easy to find.


    And as TGUYINSD says we have WiFi hotspots all over, too. While I have no problem with the option existing, I have to wonder how popular it would be for users to spend the higher cost for the option and then have a monthly bill for the cellular data option when they probably already have their iPhone with them. People on this forum seem to be mostly against paying $10 per month to add cellular data and voice to their iPhone with a brilliant number-sharing option. I love it because I often prefer to keep my iPhone away from my person so I can be more mobile.

    edited August 2 chia
  • Reply 4 of 31
    We used to look forward to G5 laptops; now we may have hankering for 5G. What an age.
    randominternetpersonchia
  • Reply 5 of 31
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,961member
    This makes sense...
    Why limit a portable computer to certain islands of connectivity?

    And, with 5G promising to blanket coverage in urbanized areas, it makes sense that a mobile computer would work anywhere and everywhere, all the time*

    * Admitedly, that excludes rural areas.  To get them covered, the FCC and congress would have to step in.
  • Reply 6 of 31
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,888member
    Considering that Macs are getting more and more integrated, the addition of the 5G service to a Macbook is not surprising.
  • Reply 7 of 31
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,359member
      It could just be for lightning-fast short-range connections in the proximity of a new Apple 5G based router, couldn't it? 
  • Reply 8 of 31
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,789administrator
    MacPro said:
      It could just be for lightning-fast short-range connections in the proximity of a new Apple 5G based router, couldn't it? 
    For the same physics reasons that 5G isn't a long range protocol, and why 5GHz bands on your existing router are also short range, this probably isn't why.
  • Reply 9 of 31
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 274member
    Nice. Finally a MacBook that has cellular chip. I wonder why in the past years laptops in general don't have cellular built-in except mobile devices and tablets only. In today's age, we need it. I used to setup hotspot from my iPhone for my MacBook. But I couldn't now because I upgraded to unlimited cellular data and the hotspot feature is disabled from carrier. A G5 MacBook would fill that need.
    Aside from those from Apple, every "business" laptop I've seen in a decade either includes a WWAN card or has a slot and antennas for one. Every single Thinkpad W, T, or X. Every Toughbook. Every Getac. It's a pretty common feature. Some even have combination WiFi/WiMAX cards, as an example.

    The biggest pain of integrated WWAN, though, is the relatively short lifespan of cellular technologies compared to the lifespans of the devices carrying the cards. I have some Toughbooks from 2006 in my fleet. The firmware is locked so it will only boot with approved cards (or no card), and the only approved cards talk EvDO or 3G. I don't think anybody sells EvDO service anymore. 3G is still available in some places, but not all.
    GeorgeBMacravnorodom
  • Reply 10 of 31
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    Nice. Finally a MacBook that has cellular chip. I wonder why in the past years laptops in general don't have cellular built-in except mobile devices and tablets only. In today's age, we need it. I used to setup hotspot from my iPhone for my MacBook. But I couldn't now because I upgraded to unlimited cellular data and the hotspot feature is disabled from carrier. A G5 MacBook would fill that need.
    Yeah the first thing I thought when I read the headlines is what took these idiots so long!!!!!    Macs and MBP’s have suffered for years now due to the lack of innovation!    Even things like a visual logon that has been in IPhone for years is no where to be seen on Macs. Let’s not forget iPads have had cellular support for years now.    

    This is just one component that has left me so pissed off with Apple and their willfull ignoring of the Mac line up, that has me using an HP laptop right now.   For the life of me I can not grasp why they would let the Mac lineup slip so far behind.  By the way behind not just the competition but their own products.  It is like shooting ones self in the foot.  
    ravnorodomcaladanian
  • Reply 11 of 31
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Nice. Finally a MacBook that has cellular chip. I wonder why in the past years laptops in general don't have cellular built-in except mobile devices and tablets only. In today's age, we need it. I used to setup hotspot from my iPhone for my MacBook. But I couldn't now because I upgraded to unlimited cellular data and the hotspot feature is disabled from carrier. A G5 MacBook would fill that need.
    Because WIFI hotspots are so prolific and because people don't want to pay for two separate data plans. Your phones hotspot feature works for the majority of people for the few times they need such functionality.  Carriers haven't helped, by charging outrageous prices for data-only plans.  So, for most people, they find WIFI, then go to their phone hotspot if WIFI isn't possible.

    Most unlimited plans I've seen have limited hotspot (usually pretty generous), not completely disabled hotspot.  I'd look for a different carrier!

    WWAN used to be a much-wanted feature years ago, but not so much any more.
    But many people do pay for separate data plans.  If they have interment /cable access at home that is a separate data plan.  If they have an iPad that is often on a separate plan.  

    Speaking of iPad I’d expect it to be offered up as an option just like it is on iPad.  Further I’d expect to be able to manage the connection just like on an iPad.  
  • Reply 12 of 31
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    This makes sense...
    Why limit a portable computer to certain islands of connectivity?

    And, with 5G promising to blanket coverage in urbanized areas, it makes sense that a mobile computer would work anywhere and everywhere, all the time*

    * Admitedly, that excludes rural areas.  To get them covered, the FCC and congress would have to step in.
    Well there is wishful thinking and physics.  5G is far more likely to work well in more rural areas where there is line of sight to the towers.  Range wouldn’t be anymore limited in those areas than any other radio tech at the same power levels.   It is the difficulty that high frequency signals have with obstructions that will cause 5G users much grief.  

    In fact the cell companies are still working on how they will manage user expectations.   4G can be blocked in many locations, I’ve had it drop out in a downtown area just by walking into a lower level restaurant.  How effectively the signal is blocked depends upon construction materials and other factors but 5G will be impacted to a far larger degree than cell connections at far lower operating frequencies.   Similarly I work in a very large building of concrete construction and I can watch my cell signal disappear after walking away from the outside walls to the center of the building.  

    By by the way it isn’t like these issues are not well known.  Before the advent of wide spread fiber micro wave data and voice connections where popular to connect well spaced properties of a company.  These sorts of connections where notorious for bad behavior in storms. 
  • Reply 13 of 31
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,961member
    zimmie said:
    Nice. Finally a MacBook that has cellular chip. I wonder why in the past years laptops in general don't have cellular built-in except mobile devices and tablets only. In today's age, we need it. I used to setup hotspot from my iPhone for my MacBook. But I couldn't now because I upgraded to unlimited cellular data and the hotspot feature is disabled from carrier. A G5 MacBook would fill that need.
    Aside from those from Apple, every "business" laptop I've seen in a decade either includes a WWAN card or has a slot and antennas for one. Every single Thinkpad W, T, or X. Every Toughbook. Every Getac. It's a pretty common feature. Some even have combination WiFi/WiMAX cards, as an example.

    The biggest pain of integrated WWAN, though, is the relatively short lifespan of cellular technologies compared to the lifespans of the devices carrying the cards. I have some Toughbooks from 2006 in my fleet. The firmware is locked so it will only boot with approved cards (or no card), and the only approved cards talk EvDO or 3G. I don't think anybody sells EvDO service anymore. 3G is still available in some places, but not all.
    It seems that you might be able to upgrade the card in your Thinkpads.  In my experience they are not soldered in.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,961member
    wizard69 said:
    This makes sense...
    Why limit a portable computer to certain islands of connectivity?

    And, with 5G promising to blanket coverage in urbanized areas, it makes sense that a mobile computer would work anywhere and everywhere, all the time*

    * Admitedly, that excludes rural areas.  To get them covered, the FCC and congress would have to step in.
    Well there is wishful thinking and physics.  5G is far more likely to work well in more rural areas where there is line of sight to the towers.  Range wouldn’t be anymore limited in those areas than any other radio tech at the same power levels.   It is the difficulty that high frequency signals have with obstructions that will cause 5G users much grief.  

    In fact the cell companies are still working on how they will manage user expectations.   4G can be blocked in many locations, I’ve had it drop out in a downtown area just by walking into a lower level restaurant.  How effectively the signal is blocked depends upon construction materials and other factors but 5G will be impacted to a far larger degree than cell connections at far lower operating frequencies.   Similarly I work in a very large building of concrete construction and I can watch my cell signal disappear after walking away from the outside walls to the center of the building.  

    By by the way it isn’t like these issues are not well known.  Before the advent of wide spread fiber micro wave data and voice connections where popular to connect well spaced properties of a company.  These sorts of connections where notorious for bad behavior in storms. 
    Wireless companies are all for-profit corporations,  There's no profit in rolling out wireless of any kind to rural areas -- it's why many don't even have cable much less LTE.
  • Reply 15 of 31
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 274member
    zimmie said:
    Nice. Finally a MacBook that has cellular chip. I wonder why in the past years laptops in general don't have cellular built-in except mobile devices and tablets only. In today's age, we need it. I used to setup hotspot from my iPhone for my MacBook. But I couldn't now because I upgraded to unlimited cellular data and the hotspot feature is disabled from carrier. A G5 MacBook would fill that need.
    Aside from those from Apple, every "business" laptop I've seen in a decade either includes a WWAN card or has a slot and antennas for one. Every single Thinkpad W, T, or X. Every Toughbook. Every Getac. It's a pretty common feature. Some even have combination WiFi/WiMAX cards, as an example.

    The biggest pain of integrated WWAN, though, is the relatively short lifespan of cellular technologies compared to the lifespans of the devices carrying the cards. I have some Toughbooks from 2006 in my fleet. The firmware is locked so it will only boot with approved cards (or no card), and the only approved cards talk EvDO or 3G. I don't think anybody sells EvDO service anymore. 3G is still available in some places, but not all.
    It seems that you might be able to upgrade the card in your Thinkpads.  In my experience they are not soldered in.
    The cards aren't soldered, but like I said, the firmware is locked to only accept certain cards (based on the PCI ID). I have literally never seen that list of cards updated for a given computer.

    The WiFi cards are the same, otherwise I would update some of the older machines to 802.11ac or ax. The machine has a card for the WiFi radio, it's replaceable, but it can only be replaced with a card the manufacturer has approved for that specific model of machine. If you put any other card in the slot, the system will refuse to boot.

    There are ways to patch out that check in the firmware, but it's a huge pain, especially with Secure Boot.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 16 of 31
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,989member
    Just do it. Now that Apple will have it's own 5G chip design and built cheaper than buying from Qualcomm.
    AppleExposed
  • Reply 17 of 31
    The time and frequency multiplexing nature of cellular technologies means they can handle traffic congestion and loading better than WiFi's carrier sense design. This would really shine when using your laptop in hotels, stadiums, conference centers, airports, and college or corporate campuses where the carriers typically have one or more in-building DAS already. While the carriers have been pushing WiFi offload for years, I can see that trend reversing when more mmWave POPs are deployed.

    I also see hotels and conference halls being much less inclined to pay for bandwidth and mess with WiFi infrastructure when they could invite a carrier to come and do it all, or contract it to an ISP aggregator of sorts (which also happens nowadays).

    As LTE-A and 5G become more ubiquitous, the carriers will be more of a threat to cable and DSL operators in homes and small businesses. All the money you pay to your current ISP could go towards a whole-home wireless bundle: 4 phones, 2 tablets, two computers, and a router, all with unlimited data for $100-200, as compared with $120 for 4 wireless lines plus $40-$60 for slow DSL, $60-$90 for mediocre cable, or $99-$199 (or more) for faster cable and fiber.

    I'm frequently doing video broadcasts in a building where CenturyLink DSL maxes out at 700K upload and AT&T and Verizon (LTE) are barely 1Mbps in either direction. Fortunately, I get 45+ down and 25+ up with T-Mobile, and I'm able to reliably live stream an HD H.264 feed out at 1.5-2Mbps for 8 hours straight. I certainly look forward to the carriers putting their money where their mouth is and seriously beating out the lazy telcos who sit on their 15-year old ADSL2+ tech.  (Heck, it doesn't even meet the FCC's standards for broadband, let alone high-speed broadband.)
    edited August 2 GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 18 of 31
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,888member
    wizard69 said:
    Nice. Finally a MacBook that has cellular chip. I wonder why in the past years laptops in general don't have cellular built-in except mobile devices and tablets only. In today's age, we need it. I used to setup hotspot from my iPhone for my MacBook. But I couldn't now because I upgraded to unlimited cellular data and the hotspot feature is disabled from carrier. A G5 MacBook would fill that need.
    Yeah the first thing I thought when I read the headlines is what took these idiots so long!!!!!    Macs and MBP’s have suffered for years now due to the lack of innovation!    Even things like a visual logon that has been in IPhone for years is no where to be seen on Macs. Let’s not forget iPads have had cellular support for years now.    

    This is just one component that has left me so pissed off with Apple and their willfull ignoring of the Mac line up, that has me using an HP laptop right now.   For the life of me I can not grasp why they would let the Mac lineup slip so far behind.  By the way behind not just the competition but their own products.  It is like shooting ones self in the foot.  
    They are willfully integrating Macs more and more. New Mac Pro with an afterburner FPGA, all Macbooks with Retina display, T2 hardware security and Touch ID, the new Mac mini, iMac Pro all are part of that trend of integration.

    What you don’t understand Macs are no longer consumer utilities that can be purchased for leisure. For leisure there are your 1080p HP laptop and alikes, that will disappear as long as iPads proliferate. You will no longer buy a Macbook unless you have an absolute need for a Macbook, Apple doesn’t mind, selling to corporations by ten thousands.

    Yes, this is the Post-PC era. You will finally understand that and will piss-off.

    edited August 2 tenthousandthings
  • Reply 19 of 31
    thttht Posts: 3,243member
    Hmm, maybe the Apple and Qualcomm settlement is bearing some fruit here. One of the big reasons cellular never made it into Apple laptops in the past was surely licensing issues with Qualcomm. It was just too much for just too few customers and wasn’t worth addressing. Now, perhaps the market is finally there.

    LTE on my iPad is one of my favorite things about it. It will surely be one of the favorite features for prospective Mac customers.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 20 of 31
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,767member
    zimmie said:
    Nice. Finally a MacBook that has cellular chip. I wonder why in the past years laptops in general don't have cellular built-in except mobile devices and tablets only. In today's age, we need it. I used to setup hotspot from my iPhone for my MacBook. But I couldn't now because I upgraded to unlimited cellular data and the hotspot feature is disabled from carrier. A G5 MacBook would fill that need.
    Aside from those from Apple, every "business" laptop I've seen in a decade either includes a WWAN card or has a slot and antennas for one. Every single Thinkpad W, T, or X. Every Toughbook. Every Getac. It's a pretty common feature. Some even have combination WiFi/WiMAX cards, as an example.

    The biggest pain of integrated WWAN, though, is the relatively short lifespan of cellular technologies compared to the lifespans of the devices carrying the cards. I have some Toughbooks from 2006 in my fleet. The firmware is locked so it will only boot with approved cards (or no card), and the only approved cards talk EvDO or 3G. I don't think anybody sells EvDO service anymore. 3G is still available in some places, but not all.
    I even have a cell chip in my Surface Pro.   They don’t have them in every model though.   I’m hooked on direct connotations because of the iPad.   Very useful when traveling or due to crappy Comcast.
    GeorgeBMac
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