Several different news sources including Mobile Today are reporting that Orange UK has struck a deal with Apple to offer subsidised MacBooks bundled with 24 month mobile broadband deals. Not much in the way of detail yet and Orange isn't commenting.
Hopefully this isn't just a case of journalists assuming some sort of fruit-based approach to device/service bundling!
If true, this is a coup for Orange, being first to market with a subsidised Apple laptop. The MacBook is, of course, very appealing. Orange has seized upon one of the few methods of differentiating mobile broadband offers, i.e. the device.
Supporting the MacBook fits well with the optimum channel strategy for MNOs. They are unable to compete with the traditional IT channels for range of devices (PC World will always have more scale than the MNOs can manage). So, MNOs should cherry-pick particular models to stock and subsidise. MacBook is exactly the sort of laptop that any MNO should select. Ditto the Asus eeePC, which Orange also stocks.
More of the device market in my forthcoming Analysys Mason report Mobile Broadband Devices: From USB Modems to Where?