What would it take for you to buy a MacBook Air 3G edition laptop? Would you even buy one? Apple’s asking customers those questions lately, and it certainly has me pausing for a moment to think about the implications of putting 3G access into my laptop. According to Apple Insider, Apple’s been surveying current MacBook Air owners, and asking a lot of questions about their usage. In particular, they’re focusing on 3G and wireless usage patterns.
In my opinion, a parallel can be drawn from my WiFi-only iPad and my brothers iPad 3G. Simply put, I made the wrong decision, and he made the right decision. Those random moments when you’re driving down the highway and you want to look for directions, answer an email on the road, or check the latest hockey scores are some things I can’t do, but he can. A MacBook Air with 3G is going to provide more utility than a MacBook Air without 3G. Given the battery life, small footprint, and speed of the MacBook Air, it seems like the next logical step would be to include 3G.
But, there’s WiFi everywhere
I know what you’re thinking. I’m also within range of a WiFi base station 90 percent of the time. But, this argument isn’t all that valid in my opinion. Pretend for a moment that another 3G device added on to your wireless bill every month wouldn’t be a huge burden and added cost. What would you buy, a 3G MacBook Air or a WiFi MacBook Air? Without the added cost, I’d argue that most would opt for the 3G model. I know I would. Right now I can’t justify the extra cost per month, but if that cost wasn’t so expensive I’d opt for the on-anywhere 3G service every single time.
Apple would be smart to add 3G into their entire laptop line, let alone the MacBook Air. I already look longingly at the latest MacBook Air, but knowing that I could get the internet on it, without tethering, while out on the town, will easily force me to stop longing for the device, and instead replace my MacBook Pro with one immediately.
What do you think? Would Apple be better off with a 3G model of the MacBook Air? I’m sitting with Scott Annan, CEO of Mercury Grove right now, and he made an excellent point. If carriers offered a consolidated dataplan, it wouldn’t make sense to pass up the 3G edition.
As it stands, 3G proliferation is in the hands of carriers, not Apple. That won’t be changing any time soon unfortunately.