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Microsoft's MacBook Air rival is getting an LTE wireless option starting in December

Microsoft surface proMelia Robinson/Business InsiderThe Microsoft Surface Pro, which will be getting an LTE modem option starting in December.
  • The Microsoft Surface Pro is getting LTE cellular wireless connectivity, starting in December, starting at $US1,149.
  • Surface Pro with LTE will be available first to business customers, with consumer availability in the first half of 2018.
  • The Apple iPad Pro has had an LTE option since 2015; none of Apple’s Macs offer LTE.

Starting in December, businesses will be able to buy a Microsoft Surface Pro laptop/tablet hybrid with a built-in LTE cellular modem, starting at $US1,149.

When Microsoft first revealed the current-model Surface Pro earlier this year, it announced the LTE option. However, it’s taken this long to come to market. And while it will be available to business customers first, Microsoft says it will get to consumers some time in the first half of 2018, with more details to come.

Microsoft makes the bold claim that the LTE Advanced modem used in the Surface Pro makes it “the fastest LTE-enabled laptop in its class.” It should make the Surface Pro more competitive with the likes of the Apple iPad Pro, which has offered an LTE option since its introduction in 2015. And none of Apple’s MacBooks offer LTE at all.

And, naturally, the regular Surface Pro won’t be going anywhere. It’s still available starting at $US799, and still a great alternative to Apple’s MacBook Air or iPad Pro. Microsoft boasted that the Surface Pro gets 13.5 hours of battery life, though in my own tests, I found it to be much lower. It’s not clear how LTE will affect battery life.

In a broader sense, the push towards LTE is an attempt from Microsoft to get Surface PCs into more businesses, and eventually, more homes. Microsoft has said it wants to be able to offer a Surface suited for every customer — in November, Microsoft will be releasing the Surface Book 2, its high-end MacBook Pro competitor, as well.

Get the latest Microsoft stock price here.

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