3G wireless coming to Apple portables

May 6, 2009

Apple is advertising to fill a range of engineering positions””from hardware design to testing to manufacturing 3G equipped MacBooks -  which might lead one to believe the company is preparing to sell something like that in the near to mid-term future.

Macworld is running a Seth Weintraub piece in which he brings us the news that Apple is seeking to hire a quality assurance engineer to test 3G and other wireless networking devices. However, a quick check of company’s Hardware Engineering jobs site reveals help wanted ads for six wireless design and testing positions that mention 3G and Macintosh together, including one spot to be filled in Shanghai, which is in the neighborhood of where OEM partner Quanta assembles Apple’s various MacBooks.

Given the amount of detail Seth lists in his write up for just one position (ie QA testing), he either didn’t see or the other five engineering spots weren’t listed yesterday. So, whereas he seems to think Summer is a possibility (“Wouldn’t that be a nice WWDC surprise?”), given the breadth of Apple’s published personnel needs””from design to testing to site engineers””perhaps the earliest we could see a 3G wireless equipped MacBook is Fall, though that’s hardly a certainty either.

Whether they arrive sooner or later, there’s small and growing customer base for 3G MacBooks. Assuming the required service plan doesn’t involve violent monthly violations of our financial nether regions””a big if given what we already know about AT&T”” anywhere wireless Apple portables could be an instant hit among the digerati, a constituency that already prefers Macs by a wide margin.

Also, there is another possible avenue for Apple + AT&T (?)””MacBooks + after market 3G cards + service plan could be announced sooner (ie make a marketing splash) with integrated portable solutions coming sometime down the road.

So, is it possible that we will see 3G wireless MacBooks this year? And, whether it’s now or then, are you in the market for one?

Sound off below people…

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