Apple to Add Mobile Broadband to MacBooks?

According to AppleInsider, Apple is looking to add wireless mobile broadband to their portable product line. This comes as Apple is nearly a month away from launching their first wireless phone.

Apple has dabbled in supporting wireless cards for years. Apple was the first manufacturer to offer integrated support for EV-DO services as a part of their operating system. Later, Apple expanded Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” with a WWAN framework, which now supports a broad range of EV-DO and UMTS data cards.

The contract Apple has signed calls for integration into MacBooks via an integrated ExpressCard module. However, Apple is planning to design the card to be seated behind the display panel, removing RF interference and enhancing signal quality. Details however are scarce on the addition however. It is not known which carrier has been select if the aircard module is UMTS or EV-DO, or if Apple plans to support multiple carriers.

Apple does have a multi-year exclusivity agreement with AT&T on the iPhone, however, that does not ensure AT&T will be a lock for their aircards. Every national wireless carrier has expressed interested in further dealings with Apple, in the past year alone. Verizon came close to securing the iPhone, in addition to offering VZAccess for enhanced mobile broadband on Mac. Sprint this year added full Mac support to their wireless broadband portfolio. T-Mobile has gone on-record supporting the Mac, and expressing interest in future ventures with Apple.