Owners of MacBooks – whether Air or Pro – can twist and turn it as they want: They can only access the Internet via WLAN or (with an adapter) Ethernet. If you want to be online on the go, you need a mobile hotspot or a smartphone to access the internet. In contrast to PC laptops, Apple has so far failed to install an LTE or 5G modem in its notebooks. A newly discovered patent application now shows that the idea is not entirely off the table.
sparks from the train
The iPad has proven for many years that the company can also install UMTS, LTE or 5G in larger devices – the baseband is available here at an additional cost. There were prototypes of the Mac more than ten years ago, even with a fold-out antenna. However, a practical implementation has not yet taken place, apparently Apple assumes that users are always within WLAN range or use the hotspot function of their iPhone – which can cost a lot of battery.
The new Apple application to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) discovered by Patently Apple is actually about how to keep good cell phone contact even on high-speed trains. For this purpose, so-called Doppler shift estimates are used to find the best base station so that the connection does not break off. “Laptops” are also explicitly mentioned in the list of so-called user equipment (UE) that is to be used within the scope of the patent – albeit in a long list of other potentially Internet-enabled devices including iPhone, iPad, portable game consoles, music players and even PDAs.
Patents always as broad as possible
Of course, patents are always as broad as possible and cover all possible applications of a technology – and Apple had apparently previously registered rights to processes that also covered mobile communications in notebooks. In addition, patent applications do not mean that a process actually ends up in a product.
However, it would be technically very easy for Apple to integrate 5G into MacBooks. Thanks to eSIM, a slot for SIM cards would no longer be necessary. However, the company may be waiting for a crucial development: that of its first 5G modem. The company has also been working on this for years and it is conceivable that the component will even become part of the integrated SoC with processor and memory. However, according to the rumor mill, the completion may take years.
Update 08/02/2023 11:10 am
Added details to list of supported devices.
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