Apple’s Trump Card Inside Your New MacBook Pro – Forbes
As Apple looks to keep the MacBook family at the cutting edge, could it be turning to the humble SIM card? Patents published this week highlight Apple’s work to put antennae into the hinge assembly of its laptops. Alongside GPS, bluetooth and wi-fi possibilities, the patent lists cellular telephone transceiver circuitry.
Although macOS and the Touch Bar help the MacBook family stand out from the Windows 10 powered crowds, the competition are leaning heavily on 4G technology to create standalone connected laptops. Is it time Apple joined the party?
MacBook owners do have the option of tethering a mobile handset to their MacBook (and this is encouraged through the use of Continuity) but using a mobile for data connectivity has been an option for many years. That hasn’t stopped manufacturers building in cellular options to hardware. It is convenient, it increases the value of the initial purchase, and it makes the whole package easier to use.
Apple’s current portfolio has an option for the mobile road warrior looking for a keyboard – a Smart Keyboard Cover to an iPad Pro with cellular connectivity ticks that box, but you are faced with the question of using an iPad Pro as a ‘full-blown’ portable computer. For many that is enough, but for others the flexibility, power, and third-party macOS apps are requirements.
With Microsoft encouraging its partners to push at cellular connectivity in Windows 10 devices, the MacBook Pro range could easily stand out as not meeting consumer expectations by the end of 2017. With last year’s laptops already having to answer ‘what makes the Pro a professional machine’, Apple may feel it has little choice but to react to market demands.
The MacBook Pro launch in Q4 2016 was a curious presentation for Apple. The Touch Bar offered new options to users, but its long-term value remains to be proven. Otherwise the laptops bumped up specifications across the board, raised the prices, and managed to achieve a thinner design than previous models. Because of the launch window, Apple could not move to Intel’s seventh-generation chip technology. Laptops hitting the market now are able to use the Kaby Lake family.
No doubt Apple will make the move to Kaby Lake in the next iteration of the MacBook Pro. If Tim Cook and his team move to a yearly release schedule, we’ll see these chips in the October 2017 machines. That won’t be enough to stand out from the crowd, or to sell the laptop as something more than an iterative update.
Adding in cellular connectivity would give Apple a massive talking point at the launch event, it would create a genuine reason for people to consider an update after twelve months and it would prevent the Windows 10 powered competition from building up a competitive advantage.
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