Color me somewhat jaded today. I’m on record as being in favor of an ‘always on’ 4G LTE Mac. You know, like the iPad’s cellular option. But on the Mac. Why? For some reason, always being connected to the interwebs sounds like a good idea.
Arif Bacchus does not agree. He tried an ‘always on’ Samsung Galaxy Book 2 notebook with Verizon LTE and decided it wasn’t all that.
So, I tried it, too. But not with a Windows notebook. A few of those are available these days with 4G LTE built-in. I used my MacBook Pro and simply made sure it was connected to my iPhone’s HotSpot all the time (no mean feat, either, because those HotSpots don’t always stay connected).
OK, different strokes for different folks. I live in Atlanta, commute to work, and spend far too much time roaming from location to location. Bacchus lives in New York and his commute is via train which already has good Wi-Fi connections. What did he find out?
I didn’t actually need the LTE. All subway stations in New York City already have Wi-Fi connections. With the touch of a button and visit to a webpage in Windows 10, I could have just as easily connected to Wi-Fi instead of using LTE. I have a feeling many other public transportation systems are similar.
Probably so, but New York is a different animal from much of the rest of good old U.S. of A. Many of us are both more and less mobile than those who live in major metropolitan areas and use public transportation. Regardless of Wi-Fi accessibility, always on LTE isn’t all that when you’re traveling or commuting by car. It is a worthwhile addition when moving about a campus environment or workplace, but the same issue applies. Wi-Fi, within buildings, is almost ubiquitous.
People tend to use their laptops most at work, at home, and at coffee shops — all places with Wi-Fi already readily available. That could change as LTE laptops become more common, but it won’t shift overnight. We’ve already built a world where Wi-Fi is readily available in many places.
My two days of keeping my MacBook Pro always on with iPhone’s HotSpot ended up with a similar conclusion but by a different route. For the most part, almost everywhere I went with Mac had Wi-Fi, and once I had logged into the different locales, logging back in during a subsequent visit was simplistic and nearly automatic. Nearly. Likewise, the always on iPhone HotSpot– which isn’t always on– proved useful where Wi-Fi signals were weak to non-existent.
In the end, I just couldn’t justify an always on 4G LTE Mac because so much of my daily travels were covered by Wi-Fi already.
Living with LTE-connected laptops didn’t leave a big impact on the way I use my laptop. Yes, they do offer conveniences and security in public places, and that’ll be enough to convince some people.
I agree. Some will want the always on cellular convenience. Most of us can get by without the added expense. Now, with that said, the so-called convenience didn’t stop me from spending $10 a month for a cellular connection for Apple Watch.
I know. Go figure, right?