When Apple unveiled the new iPad Pro at its Spring Loaded event, the biggest news was the fact that it now uses the desktop-class M1 chip in place of the previous A-series processor. In addition, it is equipped with super-fast 5G connectivity – no less with 5G with full millimeter wave. However, this begs an interesting question: why hasn't Apple made a 5G MacBook yet?
You may think that 5G is a purely mobile technology and that it makes most sense in a mobile device like the iPhone 12 or the iPad Pro. Isn't a MacBook also a really mobile device? There are already many similar sized laptops on the market with 5G support. Due to Apple's insane search for the ultimate thin and light laptop, the MacBook Air doesn't weigh much more than a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and both are perfectly portable.
Sure, you spend most of your time with a MacBook in your home or a coffee shop with WiFi, but what about the days visiting your relatives in the backcountry without a reliable internet connection? Or when your home WiFi went down and you couldn't connect to (panting) Instagram and your work Slack channel? A 5G connection would have been very practical back then.
The same arguments Apple uses on its website to take advantage of 5G in the iPad Pro also apply to any MacBook. Keep in touch with friends and family? You bet. Surf the Internet? Naturally. Send emails? Sign me up. Apple likes to tell us that the iPad can replace your computer, and these similar use cases seem to imply that the company isn't too far off the beaten track. However, if they are so similar, why does only one have 5G connectivity?
The answer cannot be the chip that powers the devices as they are now one and the same. There certainly can't be any space either, because if Apple can fit everything into the iPad Pro, it can definitely do the same in the larger MacBooks.
Then what is causing the attack? That's the million dollar question, and like many Apple puzzles, it has no obvious answer. It is all the more frustrating that 5G is not part of the MacBook range.
Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating a SIM card slot in future MacBooks. Apple is reportedly expanding the number of ports available for the next MacBook, but a SIM card slot would be a step too far. All it takes is the eSIM capability – something the iPad Pro has too and shows that it's within the realm of possibility.
Ultimately, only Apple's top brass knows when – or if – 5G is coming into the MacBook lineup, and they don't share any details. For now we have to keep our fingers crossed.