Apple starts hiring 6G engineers

An Apple job posting reported by Bloomberg clearly signals the company's interest in 6G.

"You will have the unique and rewarding opportunity to craft next generation wireless technology that will have deep impact on future Apple products," according to the job announcement reported by Bloomberg. "In this role you 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 posting also suggests applicants would "research and design next generation (6G) wireless communication systems for radio access networks" and "participate in industry/academic forums passionate about 6G technology."

Apple's interest in 6G reflects both the company's own efforts to deepen its mobile networking expertise as well as the overall global wireless industry's movement toward technologies beyond 5G.

For Apple, the posting may ultimately underscore the company's intention to develop its own modems for mobile networks. Apple famously dropped Intel for Qualcomm as its 5G modem vendor, and, as MacRumors noted, Apple will likely use the Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 modem for its 2021 iPhones and the new Qualcomm Snapdragon X65 in its 2022 iPhones.

But Apple has been widely rumored to be developing its own modem products in order to ease its reliance on suppliers like Qualcomm. It's not clear when Apple might release its own internally developed modem, but Bloomberg speculates it might happen before the industry transition to 6G.

And that transition has been looming large in recent months. Although vendors like Huawei raised the prospect of 6G roughly two years ago, a wide range of vendors – from Nokia to Erisson to Rohde & Schwarz – are now deeply involved in the development of the standard.

In the US, 6G efforts are coalescing around the Next G Alliance, which hosted its first meeting late last year – shortly after both Apple and Google joined the group.

And what might 6G enable? With speeds of up to 100 times greater than those supported by 5G, some believe it could support teleportation experiences.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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