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.)
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