Apple hiring 6G engineers in California as it bumps up its own gear

Apple introduced its 5G iPhone 12 line last October but is already looking to hire engineers to work on 6G wireless technology.

Bloomberg spotted some of the job listings in Silicon Valley and San Diego where Apple works on wireless tech and chip designs. 

The work would be to craft next generation wireless tech to impact future Apple products, and more specifically 6G wireless communication systems for radio access networks, according to job listings.  In addition, people hired would participate in industry forums about 6G.

Most experts believe 6G won’t begin to be available for nearly a decade, but anticipation is already building for speeds potentially 100 times faster than 5G and an even wilder proposition of providing power along with the signal for battgeryless devices for the first time.

RELATED: 6G’s implications for electronics are “enormous,” analysts say

Much of the essential hardware for 6G doesn’t exist..  Materials such as graphene will be critical for electronics.  The European Commission has set up a 6G research initiative called Hexa-X involving Nokia, Ericsson, Intel, Siemens and others.

 China launched a satellite in November to study 6G physics in the environment of space with terahertz electronics. Using terahertz radio waves would boost transmission speeds if effective technology can be produced.

 Apple’s job listings for 6G work coincide with its strong interest in designing its own products, even though many of its chips are fabricated by TSMC and others in Asia. Apple has been rumored to be developing its own Apple car for manufacture in 2024.

RELATED: An Apple car could be built at a Kia assembly plant in Georgia in 2024, sources say

Apple is a member of the Next G Alliance set up by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, which focuses on the long-term evolution of 5G and hopes to advance North American mobile tech leadership in 6G.  That group includes Intel, Cisco, LG and Hewlett Packard.

Some analysts have forecast that Apple will switch to its own 5G modems for iPhones by 2023, replacing the Qualcomm Snapdragon chips used so far.

Separate from the modems in its four latest iPhone 12 models , Apple has included its own powerful A14 Bionic processor, which was built on the 5-nanometer process.  That chip also runs inside the iPad Air introduced last September.

RELATED: Yes, 5G comes to four iPhone 12 models, but also LiDAR in two high end models