Think that 5G is as good as it gets? Think again! You can look forward to a 6G iPhone – something that Apple is definitely already looking towards, as it has started recruiting experts in 6G technology.
The move is understandable. Apple was very late to the party with 5G, as it wasn't until late 2020 with the iPhone 12 / iPhone 12 Mini (opens in new tab) / iPhone 12 Pro (opens in new tab) / iPhone 12 Pro Max (opens in new tab) that the Cupertino-based company embraced the cutting-edge wireless technology.
• Read more: Best camera phones (opens in new tab)
While these are among the best 5G phones (opens in new tab) on the market right now, Apple certainly lost ground – and significant market share – to many of its rivals early in the race. So the news that it is tooling up with 6G specialist comes as little surprise.
"Job adverts on the company’s site explain engineers will work to define system-level concepts; create rapid prototyping platforms and conduct system simulations; develop new algorithms; specify RAN protocols; and contribute to 3GPP development of 6G standards," reports Mobile World Live (opens in new tab).
"The move is the latest from Apple to position itself at the forefront of 6G development: it joined AT&T, T-Mobile US, Verizon, Google, Facebook, Ericsson, Nokia et al in the North America-focused Next G Alliance in November 2020."
With most mainstream consumers still wondering what is 5G (opens in new tab), the advent of 6G is hardly on the radar of most people. Indeed, commercialization of the technology isn't expected until 2030 – so don't go expecting a 6G iPhone for a while yet. Still, anyone hoping to hit the ground running will need to get in on the ground floor now.
What is 6G?
While what 6G represents is a slightly different question, what 6G means is simply the "sixth generation" of wireless technology – and of course, it follows in the footsteps of 5G, 4G and 3G radio-based standards before it.
As with 5G, you can expect the advent of 6G devices to boast even higher speeds and even lower latency – with far better speed and stability than even your home Wi-Fi connection.
So, exactly how fast is 6G? Some experts predict that it could achieve speeds of 1TB (terabyte) per second – 1,000 times faster than a 1GB home internet connection, and 100 times faster than the hypothetical 10GB top speed of 5G (though we're yet to even approach such speeds).
Here is a table, courtesy of (opens in new tab) highspeedinternet.com, that puts 6G's potential speed in the context of 5G and 4G.
|4G||33.88 Mbps (approx)||Phones, tablets, hotspots|
|5G||40~1,100 Mbps||Phones, tablets, hotspots, public infrastructure, automated cars|
|6G||~1,000,000 Mbps (1 Tbps)||Automated cars, cellular surfaces, Wi-Fi implants|