Ever the second place trendsetter, there’s a new trend among personal computers that Apple has missed again. This one is called the Always Connected PC, whereby always connected means connected to the internet. Always.
For most of us, our Macs are connected to the internet through a home or office network connection, or via Wi-Fi, again, home or office, but also Starbucks or while on the road. But it’s not always connected the way iPhone is always connected. That may change.
Hot Spot Mac
This new trend among Windows-based PCs and a few Chromebooks is an always on connection via LTE and a nearby cellphone company tower. This works much as it does with the Cellular option for iPad. $130 more gets you an iPad with cellular capability.
This new breed of Windows notebook works the same way. It’s an inexpensive notebook with an always on cellular connection. Sweet, right? Well, not quite. So far, most of these Always Connected PCs– ACPCs– run ARM-based CPUs instead of Intel Inside, so they’re slower than dirt. That’s the compromise for instant-on power, constant connectivity, and all day batter life– where all day means 18 to 20 hours.
Translation: “These are underpowered PC, modestly priced notebooks which skimp on features.”
Here’s a good example. It’s the Asus NovaGo with long battery life and an always on cellular connection. For about $700 you get an anemic– slower than iPhone– CPU, 8GB of RAM, 13-inch LED HD display, 64GB SSD storage, 2 USB ports, HDMI out, Wi-Fi, Windows 10 S, all wrapped up in a three pound package.
Contrast that to the entry-level MacBook Air at $999 which has 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD storage but no Retina or HD display. Yet.
Oh, and no always connected cellular capability.
Word on the streets is that Apple is working on a new entry-level, ARM-based Mac which could fall into the always connected class of notebooks now trending among the trendy PC crowd. Apple could toss in an iPhone X CPU with its own built-in graphics capability, an always on cellular connection, and have it run an ARM-based version of macOS Bakersfield (the a future version of macOS).
What’s not to like?
I would expect a 13-inch Retina display, a full-sized keyboard, USB-C and Thunderbolt ports (hopefully, more than one), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, plus 8GB RAM minimum, and 128GB SSD storage, minimum.
What kind of price?
Think 25-percent above a comparably equipped and equally trendy always connected PC and $899 seems about right. You just know that Apple has an ARM-based version of macOS running in a lab somewhere so the only real issues are, 1) when will this happen, 2) will it run all Mac apps? and, 3) how much will it cost.
I’ll buy one.