- Two new Apple patents covering 5G-related technology have just been published, coming just ahead of what’s expected to be the company’s first 5G iPhone launch in September.
- One patent covers wireless devices that can connect to 4G and 5G networks, while another covers 5G network slicing.
- Patents shouldn’t be interpreted as confirmation of a product’s existence, but the documents have surfaced as reliable reports suggest that a 5G iPhone launch could be imminent.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A pair of Apple patents covering 5G technology have just been published ahead of what’s expected to be the launch of the company’s first 5G iPhone, which will reportedly debut in September.
One patent covers wireless devices that can connect to both 4G and 5G networks, while the other pertains to the enabling of network slicing — a technique that network operators use to “slice” a single network into multiple layers with different speeds and latencies depending on a device’s needs, as RCR Wireless explains.
Both patents are dated July 14, while the document covering dual 4G and 5G connectivity was filed in December 2017. The latter relating to network slicing was filed in October 2018, and it appears to be the result of Apple’s decision to acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business since Intel is listed as the applicant.
It’s not the first time Apple patents covering 5G technology have appeared. Patents have previously surfaced in June and April regarding antenna setups for connecting to 5G, according Patently Apple.
Patents don’t serve as concrete evidence that Apple is developing a specific type of product or technology, and shouldn’t be interpreted as confirmation of a 5G iPhone. Companies file patents for a variety of reasons, regardless of whether or not such technologies or features appear in products. It’s not uncommon, for example, for large companies to patent technologies and concepts as a defense mechanism to thwart competitors.
Rather, patents could suggest that a certain technology may be on a company’s radar, indicating that it’s thinking about it in some capacity.
But the 5G patents are appearing as Apple is widely expected to announce the iPhone 12 in September, which media reports and analyst notes have suggested will come in multiple variants capable of connecting to 5G networks.
Bloomberg’s well-connected Apple reporter Mark Gurman has written that 5G could appear in as many as four new iPhone models in the fall, while TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo — who has a reputation for forecasting upcoming Apple product launches — has made similar predictions.
Apple has not publicly spoken about its plans for bringing 5G to the iPhone, as it never discusses upcoming products before they’re unveiled. But CEO Tim Cook said in January during the company’s fiscal first-quarter earnings call that 5G was still in its “early innings” in terms of global deployment.
Other than 5G support, the next-generation iPhone is expected to come in new size options and may feature depth-sensing cameras similar to that of the iPad Pro.
Research firm Strategy Analytics reports that Apple could become the market leader for 5G phones should it decide to release a 5G iPhone this fall — provided it matches the upgrade rates of last year’s iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe