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Apple Adds EVDO Card Support in 10.4.7

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Tuesday, 27 June 2006

Apple Gives PowerBook Users More Options To Use EVDO Cards

Starting with Mac OS X 10.4.7 (released June 27, 2006), Apple has added direct support for the following EVDO Cards:

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  • Novatel 620 (Verizon V620 & Merlin S620)
  • Novatel V640 (Verizon ExpressCard)
  • Sierra AirCard 580 (Verizon and Sprint)
  • Sierra PC5220 (Verizon - new and old firmware supported)
  • Support was also added for the Novatel U730
  • Franklin CDU-550

We have been providing hacks and drivers for ALL EVDO cards for the last year. Some of these directions were complicated and some were easy. We are very happy that Apple has added support directly, it will allow MORE Mac users to take advantage of EVDO.

Previously, Apple supported the Sierra PC5220 (discontinued August 2005) and the integration within the Mac OS X was elegant AND simple. Stick the card in your PCMCIA slot of your PowerBook 15 or PowerBook 17 inch and in the menu bar would popup a new icon that would display the signal strength. Pull down on this icon and easily be able to connect or disconnect to the EVDO Network.

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Verizon was the first carrier to support Mac, although many of the employees in the corporation didn't really know or understand this (even today). They added support for the Kyocera KPC650. Later, they added support for the PC5740. VZAccess is the software that provides this support, an application that must be running in order to connect or disconnect. VZAccess also tracks the amount of data you are uploading and downloading and the current benchmarks you are achieving.

Enter Mac OS X Update 10.4.7

The first time you insert a supported card, you will see the following dialog:

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After clicking OK and entering your password (the password you use to install software), your Mac will be configured and ready to use.

The next step, is to pull down on the signal strength indicator and select Connect and you will be connected.

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We have more testing to see how the drivers handle a locked Sprint card. When you purchase a Sprint card, it is "locked" before Sprint sends it out. It is usually locked with the last 4 of your social security number. For those Mac Users that have been purchasing their Sprint cards from us, we have been offering a service to unlock them, before sending them. We are not sure if this step will be required or not.

Cool Things

Apple has secretly added additional funcationality, like the ability to see the Signal Strength (RSSI), and the ability to Activate the card. These 2 features are critical for proper operation. Also, in the menu, if you see a 1xRTT only icon, you are in a 1xRTT only area. If you see the EVDO icon, you are in an EVDO area (BroadbandAccess on Verizon or Mobile Broadband on Sprint).

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The About box will display if you are using a Verizon or Sprint card and specific information about the PRL Version and other useful information about the card:

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We are not sure why Apple did't add support for the Kyocera KPC650 or the PC5740, however, what they added is a good first step.

Since MacBook Pros use the new ExpressCard slot, it is now confirmed that 10.4.7 also supports the new Novatel V640 card from Verizon.

Having choices is great for PowerBook users, BUT what about MacBook Pro users? If you buy a new Mac laptop today, you can only purchase the MacBook. It looks like Verizon is positioned to support MacBook Pros immediately on day 1. We are not sure when Sprint will offer support. Also, Sprint needs to clarify their Mac support. Currently, Apple is providing the drivers, BUT can you call Sprint with a technical question if you need support (if you are a Mac user)??


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Last Updated 6/27/2006 @ 11PM CST



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