It's high time for a MacBook Air with LTE

The iPad has an LTE option. So does the iPad mini. It's high time for that option on the MacBook Air.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

I love my 11-inch MacBook Air. Even so, there's a glaring omission that keeps it from being the best laptop around. It's 2013 and it's downright ludicrous that there's no option for wireless broadband, aka LTE, for the Air.

Having 4G LTE in a laptop is nothing new and there's no obvious reason why the MacBook Air doesn't have wireless broadband as an option. The Air is one of the most portable laptops in existence and as such is the perfect candidate for integrated LTE.

Apple, you've put the hardware for LTE in the iPad and even the tiny iPad mini so surely there's plenty of room in the MacBook Air. I understand that the iPads use different hardware than the Intel package in the Air, but even so it must be something you can easily do.

Earlier this year I spent a few months using Google's Chromebook Pixel, and I found the hardware to constitute one of the best laptops I have used. The Pixel has nice hardware but my designation of best laptop was helped greatly by having LTE inside. Without LTE I would not feel the Pixel is the best.

I tweeted this on Thursday. And, after thinking about the lack of LTE, I believe this is not accurate:

If you produce a MacBook Air, 11-inch is my preference, with 4G/LTE inside I would buy one in a heartbeat. I don't think I am alone in that regard, and I'll bet you'd sell more than a few of them. With LTE inside, that tweet would accurately reflect my thoughts on the MacBook Air.

I have LTE in my iPad. I have LTE in my iPad mini. Why can't I have LTE in my MacBook Air?

I'm sitting in a cafe writing this on my MacBook Air that is tethered to my iPad mini for the fast LTE connection. It works well, but if the Air had LTE I wouldn't be forced to use the iPad mini as a personal hotspot. 

I want to pull the MacBook Air out of my bag and just get to work. It should look for a configured Wi-Fi network, and if unavailable, connect via LTE. I shouldn't have to think about it nor do anything to get online. Just like I do with the iPad and iPad mini. As I did with the Chromebook Pixel.

Having LTE on a laptop is very important when travelling. On my last business trip I brought the Chromebook Pixel and the LTE was a life saver. My hotel Wi-Fi was abysmal and the LTE stepped in and kept me moving right along.

Shared data plans are becoming commonplace which makes it more likely that buyers will pay extra for the LTE feature. I have the iPad and iPad mini on my Verizon plan, so adding a MacBook Air would be an affordable option. I probably wouldn't have chosen the LTE option on both iPads without the shared data plan. 

I don't know who needs to see this to make this happen. Perhaps Jony Ive, or Tim Cook? Whoever needs to get this done, please do. It wouldn't hurt to add the LTE option to the MacBook Pro either. You are surely aware that your competitors, every single one, offer LTE options. You are trailing all of them in this area.

I believe you'd sell the option perhaps far more than you realize. Whatever has kept you from adding LTE so far is not a good enough reason. As stated, your competitors can do it so there's no excuse for you, Apple. Just do it already.

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