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

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    i think this is a great Idea!
  • Reply 2 of 53
    ajmasajmas Posts: 584member
    When you say 3G, are we meant to assume GSM 3G?
  • Reply 3 of 53
    syklee26syklee26 Posts: 78member
    exactly how fast is the 3G stuff in real life?
  • Reply 4 of 53
    macvaultmacvault Posts: 323member
    Yayyyy! Now I'll be able to buy a laptop with built-in cell technology that gets obsoleted every 3 months! Yayyyyyy!
  • Reply 5 of 53
    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
  • Reply 6 of 53
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 53
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member
    How come we'd rather believe an unproven source than an official spokesman?
  • Reply 8 of 53
    macvaultmacvault Posts: 323member
    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???
  • Reply 9 of 53
    mgkwhomgkwho Posts: 167member
    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
  • Reply 10 of 53
    yvo84yvo84 Posts: 84member
    3g is huge everywhere but the USA. HSDPA is the next big thing.
  • Reply 11 of 53
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 53
    morrismorris Posts: 25member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 53
    apple better not force you into a 2 year $40 or more a month data plan.
  • Reply 14 of 53
    andrewcodandrewcod Posts: 19member
  • Reply 15 of 53
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 53
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 17,779member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 53
    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
  • Reply 19 of 53
    tbagginstbaggins Posts: 2,306member
    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. \



    .
  • Reply 20 of 53
    tbagginstbaggins Posts: 2,306member
    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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