updated 09:25 am EDT, Thu March 26, 2009
Orange bundling MacBooks?
International phone carrier Orange is preparing to sell subsidized MacBooks, according to Mobile. The UK magazine says it has learned that MacBooks will go on sale through Orange this summer, significantly discounted as a result of being tied to a two-year mobile data contract. No deal has been firmly cemented, but it is believed that negotiations are in a late stage, only requiring details to be arranged.
Orange is in fact said to have already tested MacBooks with its cellular modems, and agreed to a base volume of units from Apple. If completed, the deal will represent the first time a MacBook has been offered alongside cellular service. While other computer manufacturers have provided PCs to phone carriers, Apple has limited its cellular deals to the iPhone, and resisted integrating cellular receivers into computers due to excluding some carriers in favor of others.
Mobile suggests however that Orange executives see the current deal as a means of gaining access to future Apple notebooks, which might include some form of built-in cellular support. A potential candidate is Apple's widely-rumored netbook, which has so far been described only as using a 10-inch touchscreen. Cellular functions would require an HSPA or EVDO module and a SIM card slot.