Apple in Hiring Frenzy for 5G Device Design

It is now abunduntly clear that Apple is developing 5G devices, including high-band gear, after testing millimeter wave radio.

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is currently advertising more than 100 positions that reference 5G. These include antenna, modem, RF software and wireless systems engineers; as well as a "mmWave Antenna Array Module Design Engineer." Millimeter wave -- mmWave -- antenna arrays are one of the base elements of high-band 5G technology. (See Tiny Antennas Bring Test Challenges for 5G and 5G & Millimeter Wave Band Challenges.)

Apple is asking for familiarity with the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G standard in a couple of the ads. Apple talks antenna design for the iPhone, but also the iPad, MacBooks and more. (See 5G Is Official: First 3GPP Specs Approved.)

Apple got approval to test 28GHz and 39GHz mmWave frequencies in the US last summer. (See Apple Gets 5G Test Approval.)

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The hirings are good news for US carriers like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless , which are working to launch mobile 5G service on mmWave in the 2018 to 2020 timeframe. With Apple on board, it means the world's two major smartphone manufacturers -- Apple and Samsung -- are now working on delivering high-band devices. (See Samsung Plots New 5G Modem – Report.)

Light Reading has contacted Apple for more on its 5G intentions. We will update the article with any relevant information when they respond.

Apple has never publicly commented on its 5G intentions. The first 5G smartphones are expected sometime in 2019. The vendor is not typically at the forefront of cellular advances. In fact, the ads at least suggest a 2020 or 2021 time frame for device delivery. (See A 5G Apple iPhone? Don't Hold Your Breath!)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

kq4ym 2/5/2018 | 12:39:58 PM
Re: What comes first? It does seem that Apple is looking earnestly for those antenna designers and engineers for solving some of the problems of range in those high frequency bands for 5G. Whether they'll overtake the competition will be interesting to watch as testing begins.
Joe Stanganelli 1/28/2018 | 10:27:40 PM
Re: What comes first? > or perhaps have semi-custom designs made for its own use by a commercial supplier

Won't happen from Apple. Their modus operandi is -- and has always been -- "our way or the highway".
Joe Stanganelli 1/26/2018 | 6:04:11 PM
Re: What comes first? @Dan: I think history will repeat itself on that one. Samsung will offer it first; Apple will offer it better (in at least some respects).
Gabriel Brown 1/26/2018 | 7:44:19 AM
Re: What comes first? Seems like a smart decision on Apple's part. Designing a 5G smartphone modem (actually multimode modem) is very challenging. Part of me wonders how much it intends to use its own modems, and keep advancing them year-on-year, versus making sure they have an option if commercial sources don't deliver, become too expensive, etc.

Edit: or perhaps have semi-custom designs made for its own use by a commercial supplier
bosco_pcs 1/25/2018 | 1:56:43 PM
Re: What comes first? This Apple's behavioral pattern points to a long term strategic plan not to allow any bottlenecking of the supply chain by anyone. Immersion tech, Dialog, (to a lesser extent,) ARMS and now QCOM. Raining money on Corning and Finisar if necessary but bringing R&D inhouse just in case
DanJones 1/23/2018 | 2:59:34 PM
What comes first? 5G iPhone or something else?
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