Our best guess as to why Apple Watch Series 7 has a secret 60GHz wireless data module

Apple Watch Series 7 is equipped with a 60GHz wireless data module that activates when the watch gets placed on a special dock. Here’s why we think Series 7 has this secret feature.


  • FCC documents show Series 7 has a secret wireless data module
  • It operates on the same 60GHz frequency band as the WiGig standard
  • WiGig technology enables much faster wireless data transfer speeds
  • One speculation is that this module is for internal use and servicing
  • Our guess: This could be required for the rumored Apple headset

Apple Watch Series 7 has a secret 60GHz wireless data module

According to FCC filings, this 60GHz wireless networking module is activated only when the watch is placed on Apple’s special dock that also features a corresponding 60.5GHz module.

We don’t know yet whether Series 7 will retain Apple’s hidden diagnostic port found on all the previous models because Series 7 hasn’t launched yet. If not, then 60GHz networking could permit Apple employees to restore in-store watches even faster than over a wired connection.

Joe Rossignol, MacRumors:

It’s unclear how fast Apple Watch’s wireless data transfer would be, but our understanding is that USB 2.0 speeds up to 480 Mbps might be possible. It’s also unclear if the technology will ever be made available as a consumer-facing feature on Apple Watch or other Apple products in the future, such as a long-rumored portless iPhone.

Yes, the technology could bring many benefits to the mythical portless iPhone. That said, we think the implications of Apple adopting it are wider than is readily apparent

One sound explanation is future-proofing for WiGig.

WiGig could be required for rumored Apple headsets

Also known as 60 GHz Wi-Fi, WiGig includes wireless network protocols operating on the 60GHz band, enabling devices to communicate wirelessly at multi-gigabit speeds. The protocol maintains compatibility with existing Wi-Fi devices, but clients must have 60GHz capability to take advantage of faster wireless data transfer speeds.

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As an example, the 802.11ad protocol is able to pump wireless data at 10Gbps when used over 60GHz wireless connections. And with even better and faster 802.11ay, you get four times faster data transfer up to 40 Gbps over the same 60GHz frequency.

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So even with its short range, WiGig provides high-speed data. Sounds like a fit for virtual, mixed and augmented reality devices. Now, Apple is heavily rumored to release augmented reality headsets and glasses within just a few years, if not earlier.

No matter how you look at it, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are just way too slow for the amount of data an Apple headset would need to stream data. And in terms of Series 7, 60GHz networking could let us control the rumored Apple headset from our wrists with no discernible lag.