Monday, Feb 22, 2021, 21:21 Economy

After 5G, 6G – Apple Gets To Work

As has become common in the tech world: A new standard is released, and work on the next has already begun. According to several job listings, Apple is searching for engineers to research solutions for the future 6G standard, just recently after the most recent iPhone release with 5G capability. In addition, Apple joined The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), an organization that deals with questions about standardization.

The Job Listing For 6G Research
The job listing description states it is searching for individuals to "participate in industry/academic forums passionate about 6G technology" with the unique opportunity to "research and design next-generation (6G) wireless communication systems for radio access networks". Prospective candidates would find themselves in the midst of highly innovative research groups helping to shape the next decade. It's also expected to take about that long until 6G finally arrives, current predictions estimate the standard's arrival in 2030. Cupertino's early engagement in the standardization process show's the company's wish to be involved in the process from the start, and of great importance should the company wish to develop its own phone chips.

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Apple Still Relies On Qualcomm For Phone Chips
While Apple still uses 5G chips produced by Qualcomm in current iPhones, it's no secret that the company would like to begin the development of in-house solutions as-soon-as-possible. The cards have been on the table even prior to Apple's acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem division, although the development of in-house phone chips would be a demanding undertaking. Intel itself failed to produce an adequate chip capable of outperforming Qualcomm's, resulting in the division's sale, and Apple's continued reliance on Qualcomm chips.

What 6G Means
The first research on 5G's successor began in 2017, even if only theoretical at the start. Current generation global wireless standards such as 5 and 4G can reach up to 10 and 0.3 gigabits per second respectively. With 6G, the goal is to achieve speeds of up to 400. However, the values listed here shouldn't be confused with the values achievable in practice, as such values lay well below the maximal specifications. Apart from the desired speed capability, not much is yet known about 6G.

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