Apple Seeks 4G Talent
4:45 PM -- Recently posted Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) job openings hint at further interest in supporting 4G around the globe but don't answer persistent speculation about when a Long Term Evolution (LTE) iPhone might actually arrive.
There are 24 jobs posted that call for experience or knowledge of LTE. Most of these are positions for quality assurance (QA) engineers in multiple cities in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
These jobs are looking for candidates "to focus on international and network dependent features of our applications and mobile devices to ensure that we have an amazing product everywhere we ship."
Apple has faced controversy in both Australia and the U.K. over of its branding of the latest iPad as "4G" when the tablet can't currently run on LTE networks outside of the U.S. and Canada. The raft of QA positions posted appears to indicate that Apple will be looking to ensure good operations on 4G for future products as LTE grows internationally. (See 2011 Rewind: Where in the World Is LTE? )
Indeed, there may even be an increased focus on LTE in the U.K. and Europe as Apple is looking for a field design engineer to work "on very early evaluations of our Prototypes and HW Systems on different wireless technologies."
Of course, this could just mean ensuring that Wi-Fi works properly on the latest iPod. The focus on LTE and "a strong RF background" across multiple wireless technologies, however, suggests more.
Certainly, the company appears to be looking ahead to the evolution of 4G and other wireless technologies in the future. It has a position open for a Modem DSP Firmware Engineer in Santa Clara, Calif., to develop a "next generation cellular modem" for the iPhone and "investigate future cellular technologies."
This could mean technologies like LTE-Advanced in years to come. Operators are expected to start deploying this faster flavor of 4G in sometime in 2013.
For the moment, however, none of this is likely to directly affect whatever Apple has next in its product pipeline. RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani said in a research note Tuesday that he expects an LTE iPhone in the late summer or early fall.
This would be consistent with Apple's release schedule for its last phone, the iPhone 4S. Apple, of course, hasn't confirmed a 4G phone yet although it has been adding LTE talent for some time now. (See The iPhone's Future Is 4G.)
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile