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Apple is testing next-gen 5G wireless tech for the iPhone

May 24th, 2017 at 8:51 AM
iPhone 9

No matter how many iPhones Apple sells in a given quarter, it never seems to be enough for some analysts and tech pundits. Even in instances where iPhone sales exceed expectations, the narrative that we’ve reached peak iPhone inevitably begins to take hold. The prospect for accelerated iPhone growth, however, is higher now than it’s been in quite some time. Not only is the iPhone 8 release looming on the horizon, but people seem to be forgetting that we’re about to jump head-first into a hyper-fast world of 5G connectivity, and Apple is already keen on getting in on the action.

On Tuesday afternoon, Apple applied for an experimental license from the FCC to test next-gen 5G wireless technologies, according to a recent report from Business Insider. Apple’s application reads in part:

Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum…

These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.

Apple indicates that it plans to test 5G technologies in two locations in controlled facilities, one in Cupertino and another in Milpitas, California. Apple also relays that it plans to use the 28 and 39 GHz bands via technology provided by Rohde & Schwarz, A.H. Systems, and Analog Devices.

Apple’s application also notes that it “will conduct its experiments for a period not to exceed 12 months.” Consequently, it stands to reason that the 2019 iPhone 9 will be the first iPhone Apple bestows with 5G connectivity.

Incidentally, AT&T just a few months ago said that it will begin rolling out its own 5G network to a few lucky cities later this year. Of course, if there’s one thing we know about Apple, it will have no problem delaying the release of a 5G iPhone until overall 5G coverage becomes commonplace.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

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