Apple MacBooks and cellular connectivity

Wed, Feb 27, 2013


In his Chromebook Pixel review for CNET, Brook Crothers boldly and laughably said the device made his MacBook obsolete.


Because the Chromebook Pixel has a touch screen and 4G cellular connectivity.

While the vast majority of Chromebook Pixel reviews have been underwhelming, 4G cellular connectivity would be a nice addition to the Macbook lineup.

So what gives? Why isn’t there 4G connectivity now? What’s preventing Apple from going down that route?

Well, John Gruber astutely theorizes that OS X isn’t designed to work efficiently with cellular connectivity as an option to the extent that users “wouldn’t want iTunes to download new episodes of TV episodes or even podcasts in the background.” The unintended use of bandwidth might certainly drive customers crazy.

Following up on that, Marco Ament sheds some more light on the issue and offers up a solution:

To start, Apple could just put cellular-connection detection and responsible-usage logic into iTunes and Software Update. That would be sufficient to launch with new 4G MacBook models at WWDC, then they could have a session on the new API and start enforcing responsible practices in the Mac App Store. Along with maybe working something out with Netflix, they’ll have addressed the biggest accidental bandwidth hogs that most people will face.

If Apple wants to offer 4G in MacBooks, they can start whenever they want. Doing it properly will just take a bit more effort than adding a modem.

Something to definitely be on the lookout for.


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