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Apple prepping 3G laptops?

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Updated Apple may be planning to add 3G wireless broadband capabilities to all or part of its laptop line - including possibly the oft-rumored tablet Mac.

The evidence supporting this rumor is tenuous at best - although intriguing.

A Computerworld blogger spotted a posting on Apple's Jop Opportunities site for a Communications QA Engineer (see 'Update,' below). The position's requirements include "in-depth knowledge of one or more Comms technologies, including Gigabit Ethernet for consumer and enterprise-class workstations, Bluetooth v2.0, 3G Wireless WAN, and Wi-Fi [802.11] a/b/g/n."

Notice the reference to 3G Wireless WAN. And know that this job is in neither the iPod nor iPhone engineering teams, but is specifically spelled out in the job description as being with the "Comms Software QA team within the Mac Hardware Group," with duties that include "quality assurance testing for new Apple CPU Products."

Meaning Macs. (Yes, Apple does still manufacture computers).

While it's possible that Apple may be merely seeking a QA engineer who can ensure that third-party 3G cards work in the ExpressCard/34 slots of MacBook Pros, it may also be possible that Cupertino is looking to add 3G capability directly into its laptops.

And piling speculation upon speculation, we can also speculate that the speculated Mac tablet may include 3G capability - thinking speculatively, that is.

It would make sense. Any Mac tablet - which, by the way, is now morphing into a "media pad" - would benefit greatly from not needing to be tied to Wi-Fi for basic communications services.

But would such a media pad be produced by the Mac Hardware Group? We can't know.

What we do know is that Apple's tight control over its plans leads to media flurries such as this one, with we ink-stained wretches trying to build coherent theories out of such wispy evidence as a few words tucked into a job posting. ®

Update

So much for hints of Apple's plans to be divined from the company's Job Opportunities site. The link to the Communications QA Engineer job posting that we cited above has been pulled from the website, and now leads to a page that announces "This job is no longer posted!!"

Either that QA job was quickly snapped up by an eager Meltdown-booted engineer or someone at Apple was just spanked.

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