Apple appears to be in the very early stages of readying a 5G-capable iPhone.
The company filed an application for an “experimental radio service (other than broadcast)” with the Federal Communications Commission, to conduct wireless tests in two locations, one in the company’s Cupertino, Calif., backyard, the other in nearby Milpitas.
Apple is seeking to test wireless technology known as “millimeter wave.” The application listed the 28 and 39-gigahertz spectrum bands.
Business Insider first uncovered the FCC application, which USA TODAY has also seen.
It’s hardly a surprise that Apple would be pursuing a path to 5G. The promise of this next generation of wireless is that smartphone makers might eventually achieve blistering wireless data speeds of 1 gigabit per second and beyond, along with low latency and other potential benefits. In the U.S., Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are all chasing their own 5G future—and each other.
Still, the road to 5G is a long one, suggesting that a true 5G iPhone is a ways off. The infrastructure is still being built out, security must be baked in, and industry standards are yet to be hammered out. Wireless 5G is not likely to approach mainstream adoption before 2020 at the earliest.
According to the application, the estimated duration of Apple’s tests is 12 months. And as part of the tests, Apple will be using transmitting equipment manufactured by Rohde & Schwarz, A.H. Systems and Analog Devices.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.