Does Steve Jobs Hate 3G? - InformationWeek

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1/15/2008
03:42 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Does Steve Jobs Hate 3G?

Earlier today I was sitting around in a design-induced stupor as I gazed longingly at online pictures of Apple's latest killer product: MacBook Air. For all of its amazing design, the MacBook Air is missing one important technology: 3G. Why doesn't Apple build 3G into its notebooks?

Earlier today I was sitting around in a design-induced stupor as I gazed longingly at online pictures of Apple's latest killer product: MacBook Air. For all of its amazing design, the MacBook Air is missing one important technology: 3G. Why doesn't Apple build 3G into its notebooks?Built-in 3G access is fast becoming a standard feature on Windows-based notebooks, and for good reason. For all of the wonders of Wi-Fi, it's not a truly mobile data solution. If you spend any significant amount of time on the road, 3G is a necessity, not a luxury.

Lots of notebooks either come with 3G access built-in, or with the option to order 3G built into the notebook. Why is this a selling point? Because it keeps the notebook small, slim, and trim.

Isn't that the whole point behind the MacBook (or is that MacBoom) Air? Apple is hyping the Air as a true wireless and mobile computing solution. Sure, the Air sports some pretty impressive innovations that utilize Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. But at the end of the day, it's just a slim notebook with 802.11n and Bluetooth and no 3G.

But if you want to access 3G, you're going to need to use some kind of USB adapter. Sure, the Air is the "world's thinnest" notebook, but it won't be once your ugly USB adapter is sticking out of the side of it. Why not build in 3G access to help keep the Air sleek and chic?

I am beginning to think that Steve Jobs has something against 3G. Last year at MacWorld he launched the iPhone, the world's smartest smartphone, without 3G. At the time, we were fed all kinds of rationalizations, including lines about how the 3G radio chip would make the iPhone too big. Yet, I see all kinds of ultra-slim 3G mobile phones.

It's a year later and the iPhone still does not have 3G access and we have no idea when Apple is going to launch a 3G iPhone. And now we get the world's slimmest and coolest wireless notebook and it, too, has no 3G.

I am sure legions of Apple fanboys will batter me with comments and e-mails explaining why the MacBook Air would be too thick if Apple had bundled 3G access with it. But, given just how slim so many new 3G phones are, I can't see how that is the case. If Apple really wants the MacBook Air to be a "wireless machine," as Steve Jobs said during his keynote earlier today, then it needs to include a more mobile wireless network technology, like 3G. Without it, it's not quite the wireless wonder Apple claims.

What do you think? Why won't Apple offer built-in 3G on the MacBook Air?

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