updated 12:55 pm EDT, Tue May 5, 2009
3G MacBooks after all?
Apple may indeed have an interest in merging 3G cellular broadband into Macs, a job listing hints. The company recently announced an opening for a communications QA engineer, who would work full-time within the Mac Hardware Group at the company's Cupertino headquarters. While mentioning routine duties for such a position, the listing also asks for someone who can test driver bugs relating to "3G Wireless WAN" connections, alongside Bluetooth, Ethernet and Wi-Fi.
Unlike some computer builders, Apple does not offer the option of built-in 3G access for its notebooks. The company has in fact expressed a reluctance to incorporate 3G modems, citing the incompatibility of various networks, which could render the technology meaningless for many MacBook customers. Apple has however developed a close relationship with AT&T due to the iPhone, and at times been rumored to be interested in selling notebooks subsidized by carriers.
Complicating matters further is a speculated media pad device, which could be carried by chief AT&T rival Verizon, necessitating some form of built-in cellular reception. It is suggested that the pad could be aimed at competing with netbooks, which would also make the Mac designation more likely. Primary functions are said to include music, photos, video and VoIP.