Can Apple save WiMax?

Click to viewOur sources tell us that Apple may include WiMax, the high-speed, long-range wireless broadband technology, in an ultraportable 13" notebook computer, and possibly across the entire MacBook Pro line. Just part of the rumor mill flying in preparation for Steve Jobs's Macworld keynote next week in San Francisco, of course, but our source gives it a "60 percent chance." AppleInsider has pictures of Apple's banners inside the Moscone center with "There's something in the air" as a slogan. If true, this could be a risky move for Apple.



WiMax is an unproven technology with questionable support beyond Sprint and Intel. Network World reports that Sprint has soft-launched WiMax networks in Chicago, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., so it's possible that Apple will build in the hardware in preparation for Sprint's nationwide rollout in April. This would be a huge win for WiMax, which suffered a blow when Sprint and Clearwire abandoned plans for a WiMax joint venture. But Apple has proven it can popularize technologies — think USB in the original iMac, and Wi-Fi in the iBook — even with a scant market share. If anything, its position is stronger now than ever before.