Apple has never made MacBooks with cellular connectivity, but that might change as soon as next year, as a new report says that the first 5G MacBook is on track for a late 2020 launch.
Several Apple competitors already sell laptops with built-in 4G support. Moreover, Dell, HP, and Lenovo are already expected to be among the first companies to launch 5G notebooks this year. But DigiTimes suggests that it’s Apple’s first 5G MacBook that will truly stand out from the crowd.
Apple is supposedly considering using ceramic antennas in its upcoming 5G MacBook, rather than metal ones. Ceramic antennas have twice the transmission and reception efficiency of metal 5G antennas, the report says, although they cost six times more than metal ones.
As exciting as a MacBook Pro or Air with out-of-the-box cellular support might sound, there’s nothing to confirm these claims. Apple is expected to launch three 5G iPhones next fall, according to recent reports, and that seems to make sense. After all, Apple has never rushed to adopt new wireless speeds and waited for coverage to improve in previous years before launching 3G and 4G iPhones.
It will do the same with 5G, and that’s why reports that say 5G iPhones are coming next year are more believable. But we have no other proof that Apple is considering making a 5G MacBook for a late 2020 launch.
That said, Apple is also rumored to be working on ARM MacBooks that would be powered by its A-series chips instead of Intel silicon. It’s worth pointing out that some of the Windows-based laptops with LTE connectivity out there are also built on ARM platforms made by Qualcomm. This begs the obvious question: will Apple’s 5G MacBook also be Apple’s first ARM laptop? Digitimes makes no mention of that, and there doesn’t have to be a correlation between the two technologies. But it’s certainly interesting to speculate. After all, ARM chips could deliver speed and energy efficiency improvements that would go hand-in-hand with 5G connectivity.