A new report by DigiTimes claims that the first-generation smartphone with Wi-Fi 7 support will launch in the second half of 2024 based on information from backend houses and inspection labs.
Currently, electronic manufacturers are transitioning from Wi-Fi 6 with a 5 GHz band to Wi-Fi 6E with a 6 GHz band which offers higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates. It also supports multiple devices at optimum performance. Wi-Fi Alliance stated that manufacturers can utilize the additional 6 GHz spectrum capacity to “deliver continuous Wi-Fi innovation and valuable contributions to consumers, businesses, and economies.”
However, Apple still uses Wi-Fi 6 in its latest products: iPhone 14 series, 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021), and M2 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro (2022). This makes one question if the tech giant will ever adopt Wi-Fi 6E or directly upgrade to Wi-Fi 7.
Will Apple skip Wi-Fi 6E and directly add Wi-Fi 7?
The upcoming Wi-Fi 7 will use 320MHz channels and support 4K quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) technology to provide up to 2.4x faster speeds than Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi Alliance states that the next generation Wi-Fi 7 will further reduce latency to support 4K and 8K video streaming, AR/VR experiences, and more with the same number of Wi-Fi 6E bands.
Based on the developing IEEE 802.11be standard, Wi-Fi 7 will be the next major generational Wi-Fi technology evolution. Wi-Fi 7 focuses on physical (PHY) and medium access control (MAC) improvements capable of supporting a maximum throughput of at least 30 Gbps to increase performance, enable Wi-Fi innovations, and expand use cases.
Additional Wi-Fi 7 enhancements will support reduced latency and jitter for time sensitive networking applications including AR/VR, 4K and 8K video streaming, automotive, cloud computing, gaming and video applications, as well as mission critical and industrial applications. As with other Wi-Fi generations, Wi-Fi 7 will be backward compatible and coexist with legacy devices in the 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz spectrum bands.
The tech giant is expected to launch a new AR/VR mixed reality headset that will function more smoothly on Wi-Fi connectivity with reduced “jitter for time-sensitive applications”.
If the new Wi-Fi technology will debut as early as 2024, it is likely that Apple will skip Wi-Fi 6E and directly move to support Wi-Fi 7. Even DigiTimes said that that with the launch of Wi-Fi 7 on the horizon, Wi-Fi 6E is “just a transitional technology.”
Intel has already announced that it will adopt the upcoming Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be) in PC products like laptops by 2024. It is currently developing the next-generation connectivity technology in order to get the Wi-Fi Alliance certification.