Apple MacBook 3G could have detachable, magnetic antenna

A patent granted to Apple in the US provides new hints that a 3G version of the MacBook may be on the cards.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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A patent granted to Apple provides new hints that a 3G version of the MacBook may be on the cards. The new patent outlines a detachable, magnetic antenna for connecting your laptop to the Internet on the go.

Patently Apple first reported on the patent, which was granted to Apple in the US this week. The antenna appears to sit on a hinge when connected, so that it can be adjusted to ensure the best reception. The antenna is also attached by magnets, so it comes off easily when knocked, stepped on or otherwise duffed up. That should keep it from breaking.

It's a similar idea to the MagSafe power connector seen on MacBooks. The MagSafe connector attaches the power cable to the laptop via the magic of magnetism, so, when you step on the cable, the connector detaches and won't cause your laptop to fall to a horrific death. Magnets are also used in the new Smart Cover for the iPad 2.

An earlier patent suggested that Apple was working on an iPhone 4-style antenna for the 3G MacBook. That antenna would be built into the chassis, like the iPhone 4's antenna is integrated into its external housing. Such a prospect may fill your heart with terror -- the iPhone 4's antenna is not without its problems -- but the same problem shouldn't affect a 3G MacBook, as you wouldn't obscure the antenna with your hand.

There's already a 3G iPad, so why not a 3G MacBook? Indeed, the shockingly thin and light MacBook Air is designed to be taken out and about, so 3G connectivity would make it capable of truly going anywhere and still staying connected to the Internet.

Would you buy a 3G MacBook? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook wall.