What's the biggest frustration we have with our computers? Right: You can never get online when you need to. I stuck my neck out and told local talk radio host Jon Bristow to watch for an AT&T-equipped MacBook tomorrow. Not just because I want one, but because it has the potential to steal an entirely new market for Apple.
If you've used an EVDO card in a laptop, you know what a life-changing experience it is. Wi-Fi sucks — it's hard to find, short-range and often tricky to connect. By contrast, you're surprised when your cellular-equipped laptop can't get online. Cellular's ubiquitous, fumble-free access blows away Wi-Fi, despite the phone system's slower network speed. But buying and using an aftermarket wireless card is its own form of hassle, as Gizmodo proved this week by "borrowing" Valleywag's EVDO card right before tomorrow's Steve Jobs show. The things really need to be built-in and seamlessly integrated.
Millions of Apple customers now carry an iPhone — an OS X computer that connects to AT&T's wireless network. As my pen pal John Gruber wrote today, "After using my iPhone for a few months, it started feeling weird that my PowerBook doesn't have ubiquitous wireless networking. I'd pay for it." Me too, and it would be easy to build iPhone-or-better quality networking into a notebook computer.
Productivity and convenience, boosted to a whole new level. Open your notebook and go online instantly, while everyone else curses at their screens. What other feature could better cause Windows users to switch en masse to Apple, after seeing online MacBook users everywhere around them?