I have an iPad with which I really like to consume multimedia content and in which I carry out some of my daily tasks. Apple’s tablet, however, doesn’t always give me the features I need to get things done. So when I’m traveling or crossing town to a coffee shop so I can write a review or edit photos while having a coffee, I always choose to take my MacBook Pro with M1 Pro chip with me. It’s relatively light, it has fuller apps, and its screen size is more convenient for me than the iPad. There is only one thing I miss in the Apple laptop: 5G connectivity.
You are probably wondering why I am missing an insignificant function in a team that has practically everything. In most places where I travel with my MacBook Pro, there is a sufficiently stable wireless connection to be able to surf the Internet normally. In other cases, however, the connection is excessively slow or there isn’t even a Wi-Fi network I can connect to. This means that I inevitably have to share the Internet via my iPhone or, if I take it with me, my iPad, which includes the possibility of attaching a SIM card or installing a virtual SIM card in order to be able to browse, in my case, with 4G networks.
This, in turn, has several disadvantages. First of all, the connection is not as fast as if the MacBook itself had the option of including a SIM card to be able to activate the 4G or 5G networks. Secondly, the autonomy of the iPhone or iPad is impaired, since the ‘Personal hotspot’ function, which is used to activate the device as a Wi-Fi receiver, causes the rapid exhaustion of the smartphone or tablet battery.
What’s stopping Apple from putting 5G on its Macs?
The solution to this problem is simple: fire up a MacBook with 5G. However, and at least for the moment, no Apple laptop incorporates this connectivity. Something normal given that this technology reached the iPhone just a year ago. But iPads, as well as Apple mobiles, have supported 4G networks for years. Macs don’t.
One would think that it is due to the processor and the incompatibility of the same when including a 4G or 5G modem. Until now, let’s remember, the company opted for Intel for its computers, and perhaps these SoCs did not offer enough features to provide the team with this component. However, with Apple Silicon chips, it’s a different story.
In fact, the new iPad Air with M1 processor, as well as the iPad Pro announced in 2021, also with M1 processor, have a Cellular option compatible with 5G networks. Therefore, and despite the fact that this connection is possible thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 5G modem, Everything indicates that Apple Silicon chips can work perfectly with this component.
Next, what’s stopping Apple from launching a MacBook with 5G today? Apple never mentioned a single detail about the possibility of including cellular connectivity in its laptops. However, everything indicates that the company has not launched any model with these features for a reason.
It should be borne in mind that adding a 5G modem would also involve redesigning the body of the equipment to include the antennas. Indeed, and according to a report by DigiTimes, to include 5G in the MacBook, Apple would have to replace the aluminum antenna plate with ceramic plates, the price of which is considerably higher. It would also be necessary to add even more antennas – up to 15 – than those integrated into a smartphone, which are usually 11. All of this results in a higher cost of production and, therefore, a higher retail price..
Still, we want a MacBook with 5G
Would it pay to pay a higher cost for a MacBook with 5G? For many users, especially those who work with their Mac at home or in places where there is always a connection, paying more for a function that they will probably use on very specific occasions, and which requires an additional cost for a mobile tariff, is not going to be the most ideal. However, it is likely that some people need this type of community. The most viable solution? That Apple is pursuing a strategy similar to the one it does with its iPad.
iPads are sold in different finishes, different RAM configurations and two connectivity options. On the one hand, a Wi-Fi only version, for those who do not need an LTE connection. Other, a Wi-Fi + Cellular optionfor those who wish to include a SIM card and thus be connected at all times. What if Apple did the same, but with its MacBook? In this way, the user could feel free to choose the option that suits him best; whether it’s buying a cheaper device and only having a Wi-Fi connection (and Ethernet via an additional accessory), or paying more to enjoy a 5G connection.
In any case, and according to some leaks, the company is already working on this feature for its laptops. It’s only a matter of time, it seems, that they’ll launch a MacBook with 5G. At this time, neither the “base” MacBook Pro nor the redesigned MacBook Air that may launch later this year will support cellular networks, but there’s no doubt that it was about time.