Snow Leopard to support native 3G Wireless WAN hardware

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Building on evidence that Apple is seeking to hire engineers to test new Macs with 3G Wireless WAN support, people familiar with the company's plans say Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard will incorporate new support for native WWAN hardware.



These people report that the new version of the System Profiler application provided in Snow Leopard developer builds includes WWAN reporting under its network information section, shown in the artist's conception below. System Profiler is used to compile hardware information; if Apple were only reporting information on third party USB 3G WWAN peripherals, something that Mac OS X already supports, those reports would continue to be included with other USB devices.



Instead, Snow Leopard's System Profiler breaks out WWAN support on the same level as other technologies that are available from Apple, directly built into Mac hardware models, including the ubiquitous Bluetooth and AirPort as well as hardware interfaces that are only available on specific Mac models, such as the Fibre Channel and SAS of the Xserve and Mac Pro.



Last year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told USA Today that Apple explored the idea of building a 3G chip into the 13-inch MacBook Air, but said he ultimately decided against the move because he doesn't want MacBooks to be tied to a specific wireless carrier for enhanced internet services.



In the year since, global economic troubles have forced new pressures on PC retail prices and have helped make netbooks popular, albeit not necessarily profitable for hardware manufacturers. Netbooks are low cost mini-notebooks that are often subsidized by mobile service contracts.



Apple has shown no interest in entering the netbook hardware category, but has been wildly successful in marketing the iPhone with a mandatory voice and data contract that enables the company to offer the ~ $600 device for just $200 with a contract.



The likelihood of Apple following the same strategy to offer Macs to consumers at a subsidized entry prices surfaced earlier this year when it was reported that Orange's UK division was wrapping up talks with Apple to offer subsidized MacBooks to customers who sign up for its top-rated 3G service. At the time, Orange was said to be testing its USB dongle modems with the current line of MacBooks, suggesting the deal had little to do with any plan on Apple's part to build wireless broadband chips directly into its notebooks.



Speculation that Apple may separately be planning to tie 3G chips into its future notebook designs received a shot in the arm this week when it was discovered that the company's Mac Hardware Group was actively seeking to hire a position responsible for "testing and reporting hardware, software, and device driver bugs for Communications technologies including AirPort (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth v2.0, gigabit Ethernet, and/or 3G Wireless WAN in a detailed, timely manner."







For whatever reason, Apple plucked the job listing from its website following media reports on the matter, which could be seen as a sign that the listing was a bit too revealing of some actual plans by the company to move towards embedded 3G hardware in its Mac line. However, the Mac maker has been actively seeking someone to fill the position for more than 3 months and made no effort to remove at least 4 similar copies (1, 2, 3, 4) of the same job listing, which could still apply to evaluation of dongle devices rather than native hardware.



Still, the fact that WWAN support is being included in System Profiler of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard may provide the most concrete evidence yet that the 3G Wireless WAN support Apple is reportedly testing could arrive as early as Snow Leopard, which is expected to publicly debut at WWDC and become available to users shortly afterward. That said, all of the evidence pointing to native 3G hardware turning up in versions of Mac notebooks this year remains fairly anecdotal.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,125member
    I don't expect to see WWAN cards in Macbooks but a



    Mac Touch Tablet...that's the ticket.
  • Reply 2 of 37
    aizmovaizmov Posts: 987member
    A 8" tablet Mac..

    I defintely don't need a laptop but I need something I can lug around, bigger than my iPhone and I can use to sync my iPhone.
  • Reply 3 of 37
    jb85jb85 Posts: 33member
    If they put 3G into their future tablet or computers, would you be required to use at&t or any other phone company to get internet or would i be able to use wifi from my house or a hotspot? i wouldn't want to pay for my iphone and another device.
  • Reply 4 of 37
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post


    A 8" tablet Mac..

    I defintely don't need a laptop but I need something I can lug around, bigger than my iPhone and I can use to sync my iPhone.



    A tablet Mac is certain to use the iPhone OS-X instead of the desktop OS-X. It will sync with the "main" desktop computer just like your current iPhone does, not sync with your iPhone.



    Both devices will likely sync with MobileMe and other cloud junk so they will both be in sync with each other, but if you are expecting the tablet to be your main computer and sync the iPhone to it in that sense, I think this is really, really, really, unlikely.
  • Reply 5 of 37
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Maybe it's just a cleaning up of their networking options. Right now, 3G cards are kinda funky. It'll work with Leopard natively but it comes up as a PPP device and has a phone icon listed like it's old school dial-up. The software install from Sierra Wireless has a much better Menu Bar option that shows you the bars of signal and if your on GPRS, EDGE or 3G at the moment. It also can handle changes in network types while moving better than Apple's software.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I don't expect to see WWAN cards in Macbooks...



    I hope you aren't right. I'd get a new Mac if they included this card, even if it meant going to a 15" MBP over the nice and tiny 13" MB. My current USB 3G card finally broke at the USB port after so much abuse but they cost a couple hudrend to replace so I soldered the wires to an old USB cord. They were only about 1/2" long and about 4 strands of wire so the procedure was quite difficult. Especually when you consider that I was on the road, bought a soldering kit at a Walmart and use a socket on the outside of the building near their automative service center on the pavement while laying down so I could be more stable and closer. Surprisingly it works.
  • Reply 6 of 37
    daseindasein Posts: 139member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jb85 View Post


    If they put 3G into their future tablet or computers, would you be required to use at&t or any other phone company to get internet or would i be able to use wifi from my house or a hotspot? i wouldn't want to pay for my iphone and another device.



    Jobs said he didn't want to use it because it would tie customers down to one carrier...maybe very soon they won't be.
  • Reply 7 of 37
    georgetanggeorgetang Posts: 31member
    I have iPhone 2G (service) that includes unlimited Data Plan.



    Whenever I'm on the road, I use my Nokia E61 (International, cuz I got it when I used to live in Taiwan). And I have my E61 acting as my external wirless modem.



    Of course 2G speed is not fast enough, but when I was in Taiwan using 3G I could browse the web on the subway.



    So, you guys, it's only AT&T forcing Apple to close the iPhone's feature and capability, otherwise, you shouldn't need to pay extra for a stand-alone WWAN service on your laptop.
  • Reply 8 of 37
    ndbbmndbbm Posts: 10member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasein View Post


    Jobs said he didn't want to use it because it would tie customers down to one carrier...maybe very soon they won't be.



    With the newer gobi chipsets they will work on gsm or cdma. So as long as Apple doesn't lock it, you should be able to use it with any provider.



    Jason
  • Reply 9 of 37
    Apple posting a WWAN job position is nothing to get excited about. Intel has been planning to include WWAN directly on future chipsets, and if Intel does it NVIDIA won't be far behind. So once the hardware support is included, Apple will write drivers and test behind the scenes.



    This is certainly not a major sign that laptops or any other hardware are coming with carrier tie ins or subsidies. Stop dreaming people. Apple is simply keeping up with the hardware vendors provide to them.



    End speculation now.
  • Reply 10 of 37
    dhkostadhkosta Posts: 150member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thenobleshrew View Post


    Apple posting a WWAN job position is nothing to get excited about. Intel has been planning to include WWAN directly on future chipsets, and if Intel does it NVIDIA won't be far behind. So once the hardware support is included, Apple will write drivers and test behind the scenes.



    This is certainly not a major sign that laptops or any other hardware are coming with carrier tie ins or subsidies. Stop dreaming people. Apple is simply keeping up with the hardware vendors provide to them.



    End speculation now.



    That makes the most sense to me. Come LTE however, I think we'll begin to see a lot of notebooks with antennae and SIM slots, unlocked. Hopefully, this will be a part of a larger movement toward unsubsidized hardware and lower rate plans overall. Once the standard is uniform, carriers will have to find new ways to compete.
  • Reply 11 of 37
    So is that Snow Leopard System Profile screenshot supposed to be a mockup?



    I only ask because it clearly is a fake. The "WWAN" text isn't even properly antialiased.
  • Reply 12 of 37
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by uniqueness-template View Post


    So is that Snow Leopard System Profile screenshot supposed to be a mockup?



    I only ask because it clearly is a fake. The "WWAN" text isn't even properly antialiased.



    I'm sure AI could just do a screenshot much easier, but this does prevent those pesky cease and desist letters from appearing.



    Quote:

    These people report that the new version of the System Profiler application provided in Snow Leopard developer builds includes WWAN reporting under its network information section, shown in the artist's conception below.



  • Reply 13 of 37
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,530member
    Ok a throw back to the sixties but it would be nice to have in a tablet or ultra portable. Maybe even full sized laptops. That is if the plans are reasonably priced and if one could tie to their iPhone account for an additional discount.



    Frankly I'm a bit of a convert here as iPhone has convinced me of the value of a net connection almost anywhere. It is useful enough that I got rid of my old dial up connection and phone line at home. With the coming increases in transfer rates you will soon have the equivalent of a low end wired connection.



    My desire here is for a right sized tablet that I could justify right now. The MBP is to new to replace unless something really compelling comes out.





    Dave
  • Reply 14 of 37
    dkwiseguydkwiseguy Posts: 2member
    Now if only we can fix a little problem called "the sim card" at the same time! I hope for my new iphone to rid that legacy.



    BTW: a 3G enabled tablet would be nice! I think online Timemachine, push via Whisperner, iphone tethering, ditch the old and in with new; multiTouch tablets with nVidia ion and 3G.
  • Reply 15 of 37
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Ok a throw back to the sixties but it would be nice to have in a tablet or ultra portable. Maybe even full sized laptops. That is if the plans are reasonably priced and if one could tie to their iPhone account for an additional discount.



    Frankly I'm a bit of a convert here as iPhone has convinced me of the value of a net connection almost anywhere. It is useful enough that I got rid of my old dial up connection and phone line at home. With the coming increases in transfer rates you will soon have the equivalent of a low end wired connection.



    My desire here is for a right sized tablet that I could justify right now. The MBP is to new to replace unless something really compelling comes out.



    I'm hoping for the tablet too.



    What I'd really like to see is Jobs get up on stage and announce the new iPhone, the tablet, and the WWAN in the laptops all at the same time and for the cell companies to do the reasonable thing and give us one low price for a person or family that covers all the devices we have.



    While the current ridiculously high prices we have to pay for data are, well ... ridiculous, what would be worse is being gouged like that per device. It would be to Apple's advantage to force this as it will definitely slow their sales growth if each Apple product the consumers buy requires a $70 a month contract.



    Also, if Apple comes out with a "cheap" iPhone this time, the cell companies would make far more money off it by lowering the data prices by half and making it up on the volume than they would by lowering it the rumoured ten percent. The people that balk at paying $70 a month won't be enticed by $60, but if it was $30 and the new cheaper iPhone was thrown in for free it would be like LG chocolate all over again and the huge increase in sales would make it worthwhile.
  • Reply 16 of 37
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    A tablet Mac is certain to use the iPhone OS-X instead of the desktop OS-X. It will sync with the "main" desktop computer just like your current iPhone does, not sync with your iPhone.



    Both devices will likely sync with MobileMe and other cloud junk so they will both be in sync with each other, but if you are expecting the tablet to be your main computer and sync the iPhone to it in that sense, I think this is really, really, really, unlikely.



    I don't think it will use the iPhone OS since the tablet will have better processor, storage, and performance (if it comes out). A more accurate statement that it will based on Cocoa Touch. I think it will be an area between the iPhone OS and Mac OS. My only concern is we might need to buy our apps all over again.
  • Reply 17 of 37
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    A tablet Mac is certain to use the iPhone OS-X instead of the desktop OS-X. It will sync with the "main" desktop computer just like your current iPhone does, not sync with your iPhone.



    Both devices will likely sync with MobileMe and other cloud junk so they will both be in sync with each other, but if you are expecting the tablet to be your main computer and sync the iPhone to it in that sense, I think this is really, really, really, unlikely.



    mac tablet will have full mac os
  • Reply 18 of 37
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Maybe it's just a cleaning up of their networking options. Right now, 3G cards are kinda funky. It'll work with Leopard natively but it comes up as a PPP device and has a phone icon listed like it's old school dial-up. The software install from Sierra Wireless has a much better Menu Bar option that shows you the bars of signal and if your on GPRS, EDGE or 3G at the moment. It also can handle changes in network types while moving better than Apple's software.









    I hope you aren't right. I'd get a new Mac if they included this card, even if it meant going to a 15" MBP over the nice and tiny 13" MB. My current USB 3G card finally broke at the USB port after so much abuse but they cost a couple hudrend to replace so I soldered the wires to an old USB cord. They were only about 1/2" long and about 4 strands of wire so the procedure was quite difficult. Especually when you consider that I was on the road, bought a soldering kit at a Walmart and use a socket on the outside of the building near their automative service center on the pavement while laying down so I could be more stable and closer. Surprisingly it works.





    wow

    I just bought the verizon usb mobile broadband.

    it's the 760 small black.

    I can't seem to stream from hulu so well, even with the cheap antenna attached.

    Should I but the $60 5x usb antenna ???
  • Reply 19 of 37
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brucep View Post


    wow

    I just bought the verizon usb mobile broadband.

    it's the 760 small black.

    I can't seem to stream from hulu so well, even with the cheap antenna attached.

    Should I but the $60 5x usb antenna ???



    I can stream Hulu great on mine. It's 3G , but with Category 5 HSUPA radios. That means 7.2Mbps (Cat10 HSDPA) down and 2.0Mbps up. I have gotten over 3Mbps down and 1.3Mbps up. About 75% of those registered speeds are about my average.



    This goes to show you that one carrier is always better than another in every circumstance. I know AT&T have upping their network because I tell the difference with my browsing.



    PS: HSDPA goes to Category 14 at 21.1Mbps and HSUPA to Category (3GPP Rel7)\tat 11.5 Mbps. Then there is Evoloved HSPA (HSPA+) under 3G which can go to 42 Mbps down and 22 Mbps up while still using the same air interface as the other WCDMA standards. This means that LTE, which is the magic word of the month, is not the next step in WWAN throughput.
  • Reply 20 of 37
    macologistmacologist Posts: 264member
    I saw this announced in the last 2 days



    Verizon first to offer MiFi 3G/Wi-Fi hotspot

    http://www.electronista.com/articles...00.at.verizon/



    Wi-Fi to Go, No Cafe Needed

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/07/te...8cir&emc=cirb1



    Looks like it would make computers with the Built in 3G old news!



    My OLD QUESTION is still answered on this Forum, and ATT and Verizon clerks don't have even a hint of a clue! Here it is again:



    Does LTE mean the end of GSM and CDMA Divide in the US? How about the rest of the world?



    LTE = new Worldwide UNIFIED Standard, or is LTE vs WiMAx going to be The New GSM vs. CDMA War, all over again?



    Spring is WiMax, but how big is WiMax going to be worldwide?!



    Worldwide Roaming, or will the US Carriers make International Partnerships, so that they charge for roaming like crazy! Or will they have World Regions, ala DVD's?!



    Looks like Cell Carriers will be the New ISPs, once the LTE Speeds and COVERAGE are as good as Cable Companies!



    LTE = end of landline phones? Or will the landline phones be mostly for poor + older people?



    Either way, it seems like the DATA Prices will be too high for too long, before they start coming down! Thus the Digital Divide is not going away soon! Video Chats on iPhones etc. needs Speed, and Speed and Coverage will be CO$TLY, thus the Digital Divide = Economic Divide!
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