A couple of days ago we reported that a prototype MacBook Pro that sported a 3G antenna was seen on eBay, and just a few days after that, an Apple patent was released that suggested something similar, albeit improved upon.

Netbooks and super slim laptops like the MacBook Air were designed for portability and mobility in mind, possibly aimed at students or enterprise users who were always on the go. But what good is a netbook or laptop that is meant for research work or sending out emails if you always have to rely on a WiFi connection?

Granted there are USB modems and laptops that feature 4G LTE capabilities (see the Dell Vostro 131), but as far as Mac laptops are concerned, apart from the 2007 MBP prototype, there’s really nothing, or at least until this patent which was recently granted to Apple.

The patent suggests “key antennas” which are basically small transmitters that are mounted underneath the keys on the keyboard, which not only makes it a more elegant solution compared to an antenna sticking out of the laptop, but could possibly mean even slimmer devices as it could potentially be used for WiFi and Bluetooth, not to mention GPS capabilities as well.

The patent even suggests that an indicator light to show that it is on/enabled, much like the Caps Lock key on Mac keyboards. As with most patents, we can’t be sure as to when Apple has plans to start incorporating them, if at all, but given the 2007 prototype that surfaced on eBay, we can be sure that Apple is indeed interested in exploring 3G/4G connectivity on their laptops in the future.

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