Apple Preps For iPhone 5G Wireless Testing Near Cupertino HQ

It is only a matter of time before all of the major wireless carriers in the United States upgrade their wireless infrastructures to 5G, which will provide a significant boost in performance over 4G. In preparation for that day, Apple has begun testing next-generation wireless technologies so that its future iPhone models such as (potentially) the iPhone 8 will be ready for the high-speed revolution.

We know this because the FCC made public an experimental license filed by Apple that gives the company permission to use a new wireless technology called millimeter wave.


"Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum," the application states. "These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks."

Also known as extremely high frequency (EHF) or very high frequency (VHF), these are waves that occupy the frequency spectrum from 30GHz to 300GHz. In telecommunications, millimeter wave technology allows for data rates of up to 10Gbps. According to Apple's application, it plans to test this technology at two of its facilities, including one that is located at its headquarters in Cupertino and a second location in Milpitas, California.

"These transmissions will be consistent with the parameters and equipment identified in Apple’s accompanying Form 442, and will include the use of a horn antenna with a half-power beamwidth of 20 degrees in the E-plane and H-plane and a downtilt between 20 - 25 degrees. Apple anticipates that it will conduct its experiments for a period not to exceed 12 months," the application continues.

The application makes specific mention of the 28GHz and 39GHz bands, both of which the FCC approved for commercial use for 5G applications. Apple's experiments will use technologies developed by Rohde & Schwarz, A.H. Systems, and Analog Devices.

As to what exactly Apple is hoping to accomplish, that is not clear. The company has only been loosely linked with 5G research, with it having recently joint an industry group for 5G development