A MacBook 5G could happen, but don't hold your breath

Apple likes to take its time with integrating long-established technologies into its products. Take cellular modems in MacBooks for example. Or, well, the absence of them.

While you’ve been able to buy PC laptops with mobile data connectivity since the days of 3G, Apple still prefers you rely on Wi-Fi or a personal hotspot from a companion iPhone.

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However, that may eventually change. Not now, but around 4-5 years from now when Apple reportedly plans to place its in-development homegrown cellular modems within MacBook products. That’s according to the reliable Apple sage Mark Gurman reporting in his weekly Power On newsletter.

Gurman says once the cellular modem is fully integrated within Apple’s mobile products, starting with the iPhone, the company will start to look at adding the chip to the Mac product line. However, Gurman doesn’t think that’ll happen until around 2028.

Speaking about Apple’s efforts in creating chipsets, Gurman writes:

But the real test will be whether Apple can successfully apply its do-it-yourself approach to new areas. That includes building its own cellular modem, a component that’s now expected to be ready around 2026. The company will then probably need two or three additional years to get that chip inside cellular versions of the Apple Watch and iPad — and the Mac, once the part is integrated into the company’s system-on-a-chip.

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg.

Apple has been working on the in-house modem project for years, ever since buying out that branch of Intel in the summer of 2019.

Reports have suggested Apple has continually pushed back plans to integrate its chip within a new iPhone and replace the Qualcomm tech currently doing the heavy lifting in bringing 5G/LTE connectivity to iPhone users.

Given the Personal Hotspot functionality, which tethers the iPhone’s data connectivity to the Mac, is pretty seamless, is a 5G MacBook even necessary? Let us know @trustedreviews on X.