updated 09:05 am EDT, Mon October 13, 2008
iPods and Mac WiMAX Rumor
Apple is giving both its iPods and MacBooks wide-area wireless in South Korea, a statement reads. The American company has signed a memorandum of understanding with major telecoms provider KT Corp to bundle KT's WiBro (WiMAX in Korea) mobile broadband service with Apple's portable music players and notebooks. Neither firm is specific on details, though the iPod touch and similar devices would require built-in hardware to support the feature where MacBooks could use USB or ExpressCard adapters depending on the model.
If involving true integration, the agreement would represent the first official use of long-range Internet access in any Apple device outside of the iPhone. The company so far has declined to integrate such data with its computers or media players in part to avoid tying the advanced features to one carrier where such deals are either common or necessary for cellphones.
Apple has yet to launch the iPhone 3G in Korea due largely to the country's insistence on phones obeying the WIPI (Wireless Internet Platform for Interoperability) standard, which requires that online-capable phones support Java as well as certain types of executable code. Waivers have been given for certain smartphones but haven't been offered for iPhones, which have no support for Java or native WIPI software. The iPod touch and MacBooks are exempt from these rules.
The choice of WiMAX is also more directly suited to the Korean environment, where full WiMAX has already been in use for a longer period and covers more subscribers. Sprint has only just launched the first fully certified WiMAX service through its Xohm network where other providers in the US and Canada, such as Clearwire and Rogers, have been running pre-WiMAX hardware and features.