The next iPhone to be released later this year may permit users to connect to wireless networks at gigabit speeds thanks to support for a new near field communication standard, known as IEEE 802.11ay, according to the fairly reliable Japanese blog Mac Otakara.
Mac Otakara reported this morning that the 2020 iPhone models will feature support for the emerging standard that could permit a device to connect directly to other devices in an ad-hoc network at gigabit WI-Fi speeds, without a router, while improving reliability. This is an “ultra-short range” technology, meaning it could be more like Bluetooth in terms of range.
MacRumors has translated the Japanese-language report:
The blog calls the new standard ‘ultra-short range,’ suggesting it could be used to communicate between iPhones (i.e. AirDrop) and other devices in close proximity.
Another possibility: this standard could be essential for supporting Apple’s rumored augmented reality headset that is thought to take advantage of the speedy 802.11ay standard to connect to a dedicated box powered by a custom 5-nanometer Apple chip.
Connecting the two rumors is pure speculation at this point, but it’s interesting to conceive of different scenarios where Apple uses the new Wi-Fi standard to enable next-generation wireless AR/VR experiences.
A successor to the IEEE 802.11ad wireless protocol, the new 802.11ay standard uses the 60GHz spectrum. The way it works, 802.11ay enables gigabit speeds by quadrupling the bandwidth and by using up to four streams to simultaneously transmit and receive data.
It’s unclear whether this technology might be utilized on Apple’s Tile-like item trackers, tentatively named “AirTags” that should launch later this year featuring Apple Watch-like wireless charging and water proofing.
The upcoming 802.11ay standard should be finalized by the end of 2020, which shouldn’t preclude Apple from baking it into the next iPhone. In the past, the company released products with the latest Wi-Fi specifications that had still been in draft stages.