The iPhone may be the top-selling smartphone with 5G, but a new job posting discovered by Bloomberg suggests that Apple is already looking ahead to the next generation of wireless networks.
Apple has posted ads this week looking for “wireless system research engineers for current and next-generation networks” at its offices in California. According to the ad, candidates “will be at the center of a cutting-edge research group responsible for creating next-generation disruptive radio access technologies over the next decade.”
The job description states that hires “will have the unique and rewarding opportunity to craft next-generation wireless technology that will have a deep impact on future Apple products,” and specifically lists “next-generation 6G wireless communication systems” as a focus. With 5G only just beginning to roll out in the U.S., 6G is likely a decade or more away.
However, it makes sense that Apple would begin exploring it now. The iPhone is still reliant on Qualcomm for its 5G modems and works only just began last year on a homegrown modem. Apple had initially planned to work closely with Intel on the development of a 5G modem, but was caught flat-footed when Intel abruptly exited the smartphone business in 2019. Apple quickly scooped up the remains of Intel’s modem chip business and hammered out a deal with Qualcomm to supply modems for the current and future iPhones.
Apple will also likely bring 5G connectivity to its other products—iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac—which this new role will likely be instrumental in delivering.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.