MacBook Pro 3G Prototype Shows Up
A prototype MacBook Pro 15″ with a built-in 3G cellular modem has shown up for sale on eBay. Other than a 3G antenna and SIM card slot, the 2007 model is mostly an ordinary MacBook Pro with a Core 2 Duo chip, although there’s some additional soldering and the motherboard is red which is typical of Apple prototypes, according to MacRumors, who found the prototype.
As you can see in the picture, the antenna sticks out the top of the MacBook Pro’s lid, which isn’t the most glamorous solution, and considering Apple’s obsession with design this is probably one of several reasons the prototype never saw mass production. It’s also fascinating that despite the 3G modem not working, curious buyers are bidding the four year old MacBook Pro well beyond its resale value.
By far the most interesting part of this prototype is that it demonstrates how serious Apple was (is?) about including native cellular connectivity in Macs, even four years ago. The question for today is if a built-in 3G or 4G modem really matters anymore. Personal Hotspot in iOS 4.3 and up allows Mac users to share an iPhones internet connection, so having yet another cellular data plan for a Mac seems somewhat unnecessary.
All that said, Apple has recently solicited feedback from MacBook Air owners about 3G connectivity and usage, and has also patented antenna designs that show a 3G enabled Mac laptop, suggesting that Macs with their very own data plans may still be coming to market sometime in the future.