Apple released its first lineup of 5G-capable iPhones at the end of 2020, and all indications are that they sold a ton of them. The 5G iPhones are the most popular and highest-selling 5G smartphones in the United States and helped lead Apple to its highest-revenue quarter ever at the end of last year.
And just a few months after the release of its first 5G phones, Apple is already preparing for 6G.
Bloomberg News reported Thursday that Apple has placed job listings for engineers to work on sixth-generation wireless technology, even though that tech is thought to be many years away.
“You will have the unique and rewarding opportunity to craft next generation wireless technology that will have deep impact on future Apple products,” the job announcement said, per 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 job announcement was posted to Apple’s internal jobs page, and calls for a Wireless Research Systems Engineer—5G/6G. Part of the job description says “you will research and design next generation (6G) wireless communication systems for radio access networks with emphasis on the PHY/MAC/L2/L3 layers.”
When will we actually see a rollout of 6G? Probably not for quite a while. More than a decade passed between the rollouts of 4G and 5G, for example, which would place the arrival of 6G sometime around 2030.
A group formed last November called the Next G Alliance, which is dedicated to “building the foundation for North American leadership 6G and beyond.” Apple is part of the group, as are AT&T, Bell, Charter Communications, Cisco, Dell, Google, LG, Lockheed Martin, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, Qualcomm, T-Mobile and Verizon, among other companies.
“The Next G Alliance is a bold new initiative to advance North American mobile technology leadership over the next decade through private sector-led efforts,” the alliance said in its mission statement. “With a strong emphasis on technology commercialization, the work will encompass the full lifecycle of research and development, manufacturing, standardization and market readiness.”
The alliance will form working groups in 2021.
“It is critical that North American industry steps forward now to create the roadmap to the next decade of strong global mobile technology leadership,” the website also says. “Ultimately, this initiative will be used to influence U.S. government funding priorities and actions that will incentivize the technology industry, laying the foundation for a vibrant marketplace for North American products and services globally.”
Samsung, according to a report last year, is making 6G moves of its own.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.