Do you Want a Subsidized Macbook?

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We’ve seen a lot of rumors about subsidized Macbooks coming soon. Basically you’d get a Macbook at a substantially cheaper price, but in return you’d have to sign a two-year mobile data contract with a company like At&t or Orange.

Now, I’m very much against this kind of thing mainly because I think it’s setting people up for trouble.

Giving someone a full blown computer, where they have the speed and power to stream HD video, download movies and podcasts, play games online, and so forth — then tying them to a two year contract on a data plan that has a low monthly data cap (5Gb in most cases) seems kind of like handing a 16 year old the keys to a Porsche, then telling them to drive 20 miles an hour everywhere they go.

I think people are going to get REALLY screwed on these deals, because if you’re not keenly aware of how much data you’re transmitting back and forth, you could easily find yourself over the data cap and paying by the kilobyte in a matter of days….and no one is going to call you or send you an alert to let you know you’ve done this.

Seriously, with a 5GB cap, you could download 2 HD movies from iTunes – and already be over your monthly limit.

If that happens, people are going to be getting bills from At&t for 5 and 10k. It’s already happened to a few people, and I expect it will become more common as these things are adopted.

Now, granted, you can easily say that these people “deserve what they get” if they do this – but we all know that sales people can be lying thieves (I know, I used to be a salesman…and I was never very good at it because I refused to lie to people about stuff they were buying), and I expect more than one parent or grand parent is going to get burned by this.

So – I’m obviously not on board with it. I am curious, though, as to what you think about.

Do you think it’s a good idea? Do you want something like this?

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

6 thoughts on “Do you Want a Subsidized Macbook?

  1. If the MacBook were still able to connect to WiFi or an Ethernet connection then I don’t think it would be that big of a deal. The only time you would need to use the cellular data is if you were in a place that didn’t have another internet connection and you needed to access the internet. If someone were to choose to download a movie over the cellular connection then I think they would deserve to get charged for it. With any purchase comes responsibility and a need for knowledge. I could certainly see a salesman trying to mislead the customer into thinking that they can download anything and that there wouldn’t be any repercussions. I guess that if it were used correctly then it wouldn’t be a big deal but if you didn’t know what the stipulations were then it could get ugly really quick.

  2. How much is mobile access to the Internet worth? It depends on the individual. Granted it would be easier to go over usage caps with a laptop than a smartphone. It would be interesting if someone could come up with a graphic software meter that would need some kind of user override once a limit was hit. Also, having the OS to always give priority to Wifi. Finally, the providers should over a price structure that allows you to buy increasing levels of data packages as opposed to the overage penalties. How about some rollover plans for data? I think that would be fair all around.

  3. Rather than MacBook, the right product for mobile use is the iPod Touch or a device slightly larger.
    In fact, this device is the Mac that all the Apple design vectors (lighter, smaller, thinner, safer, simpler) have been pointing at for years. The “MacCloud” can run the iPhone OS. Now that’s a computer for the rest of us: Simple, useful, uncrashable, highly secure.

    Better than the Kindle, the MacCloud can connect to MobileMe. (I’m already paying for it.) So our files are available all the time with 3G/MobileMe. Again, simple, secure backup for the masses. It’s all the Mac most of us would ever need. It’s a complete, untethered iPod, with its information, communications tools, plus video conferencing perhaps.

    And it’s a monster moneymaker. The MacCloud would be a purchasing machine for video, music, need I say software?, and services like banking and investing. All of which Apple can make money on. And money is the ultimate content stream. Be my guest, Apple, just get me that netbook!

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