Upcoming iPhone 7 possibly to come with 4K-capable 802.11ad super-WiFi

by on June 7, 2016

Stephan Jukic – June 07, 2016

A serious replacement for the existing iPhone 6S Apple flagship smartphone is expected in the fall and of course rumors are already circulating about just what we can expect.

Dubbed the iPhone 7 by tech watchers, the new Apple phone hasn’t thus far attracted as much speculation as one might expect for particularly insane technology features and most of what has been rumored to-date revolves around relatively mundane new enhancements like camera improvements, bigger storage capacity and the possible elimination of the iPhone headphone jack.

However, more recently, newer information about the iPhone 7 has indicated that at least one particular new feature could be more exotic. This latest rumor is based on comments made a few days ago by the head of one of the chipmakers which supply Apple and what those comments indicate is that the new phone will come with a new, remarkably robust, 4K UHD-capable version of WiFi which goes by the name of WiGig, or more technically, 802.11ad WiFi.

What the new Wireless internet technology will offer the iPhone 7, if it’s included, is the capacity to stream 4K ultra HD  video from online sources while also dramatically enhancing the phone’s capacity to handle streaming from gaming applications and game connections in nearby devices docked with the phone.

Apple has already developed 4K video recording capacity for its iPhone line since the release of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models in late 2015 but this new turn further enhances this extremely popular phone’s 4K-related chops considerably.

This rumor of heavily upgraded 4K-capable WiFi is something that industry watchers like research director Neil Shah, of Counterpoint Technology Market Research are also taking at least somewhat seriously, as the analyst recently stated, according to a recent Fortune Magazine article on the iPhone 7, “I estimate the iPhone 7 could feature that. It makes sense for Apple to upgrade to ad” [the new 802.11ad WiGig standard].

Furthermore, in a recent quarterly earnings call by Broadcom, the maker of a number of Apple’s internal iPhone parts, company CEO Hock Tan had said in a slightly indirect way that his company is getting ready for large orders of the next iPhone. This reference to the iPhone was indirect in the sense that the Broadcom CEO did not refer to Apple by name and instead simply called it “a large North American smartphone customer”. However since Apple is the only North American company which fits this description, the reference is quite obvious.

The Broadcom CEO also made comments to the effect that the large phone customer (presumably Apple) will heavily boost Broadcom’s business as they move over to the company’s next generation wireless platform, stating that, “We anticipate our wireless connectivity business to continue to drive significant innovation for mobile Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications, and expect this product line to be a very key long-term contributor to our wireless segment.”

While CEO Tan also did not refer specifically to the 4K-capable WiGig wireless technology by name, there reference to a next-generation wireless platform is almost certainly aimed at WiGig since there are no other known advanced WiFi/Bluetooth features in that particular technology space currently available.

The WiGig standard is also being developed by other chipmakers like Qualcomm but Broadcom is the Apple provider of technologies of this type and their reference to next-generation WiFi platforms for the “large North American smartphone customer” almost certainly refers to WiGig 802.11ad.

WiGig is extremely versatile for device docking and high bandwidth data/media sharing

WiGig is extremely versatile for device docking and high bandwidth data/media sharing

As for the specific details of WiGig itself, the new standard is capable of transferring data at a hefty maximum data rate of 7 gigabits per second, at least theoretically. This makes 802.11ad roughly 20 times faster than the most powerful established WiFi variant, 802.11ac. WiGig furthermore operates on the 60GHz radio frequency band and thus occupies a much quieter radio space than established WiFi standards do with their operation on the 2.5GHz and 5 GHz bands.

One executive of Broadcom also went into detail about the benefits of 802.11ad WiFi in a blog post from 2015, explaining that the new standard works best at a range of 12 feet or less and thus offers excellent in-room and point-to-point streaming capacity for uses such as wireless connectivity between a TV and a smartphone. Because of this, it would be a powerful tool in the next generations of mobile devices like the iPhone, especially as 4K content from numerous web-based sources and media devices becomes ever more popular and also because ultra HD content created by phones like the iPhone 7 itself –which will certainly include a 4K video camera—needs to be easily shared to other devices without the need for cables.

That said, the iPhone 7 and other smartphones we can expect for late 2016 and 2017 will still use normal 802.11ac WiFi even if they’re capable of 802.11ad WiGig connectivity. As the Broadcom executive who wrote the above-mentioned blog post on WiGig states in his piece, “Tri-band solutions incorporating 802.11ac and 802.11ad will deliver a seamless experience using whatever works best for a particular distance and application, allowing consumers to surf and stream at lightning fast speeds.”

4K content will have an interesting future in mobile devices with solutions like that which is rumored for the iPhone 7.

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  • Ben Ballard
    June 8, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Is there any point in having 802.11ad WiGig “WiFi” to capably stream 4K media,if the screen is not reportedly a 4K one but QHD and therefore unable to display 4K media?

    It seems Apple and Cupertino are trying to eke more money out of the public with half measures, instead of going the whole hog for it’s loyal (if not sheeplike) “customers”. After all, if Samsung and Sony can do it, I’m very sure that Apple can do so also. As if a 13% Q2 profit drop isn’t bad enough (resulting in a profit deficit of roughly $41bn-$43bn by the time the 3rd Quarter point rolls around in June. I can see Apple’s drop in profits dropping even further, when the public wakes up out of it’s Apple haze and realises they can get a whole more bang for their buck by jumping ship to Android (either Samsung or Sony) for their 4K mobile content.

    Not well played Apple, not well played at all.

    Conversely, Samsung also reported a profit drop for it’s S6 Edge, perhaps the exclusion of a Micro SD card slot was it’s biggest shot in the foot plus the fact they’d priced it a tad too high as well. That’s not to say it’s a bad device, far from it, it was a good flagship prototype for the S7- well done Samsung for listening to the public and including a micro SD card slot!! If they can price it in under the iPhone 7 price point, then I’m sure Samsung can come up with an Apple killing giant of a phone! And anything that takes chunks out of Apple in a rival device is all good in my book, Apple and Cupertino as a corporate team giant have screwed money out of people’s pockets now for too long for too little extra in a model upgrade.

    Where is the projecting keyboard that Apple were toying with? Why isn’t it 100% waterproof? Why no definite 4K camera and 4K resolution screen? (After all 4K has been about since late 2013 onward – very very short-sighted of such an “innovative” and forward thinking Tech giant don’t you think?)

    I think that since the sad loss of Steve Jobs, Apple has lost it’s singular vision, drive and company innovation. He’ll be buffering in his grave if he knew what was going on with the very lacklustre push forward for different and outstanding tech.


    • alexyoe
      June 8, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Apple has not “Screwed” anyone out of money. They chose to buy the product. I think that WiGig is a better feature to have then a slightly curved screen, that’s basically serves zero purpose. Fast internet is great and has uses. A partial screen on the side of your phone is a gimmick. This is speaking from experience as i’m a Sales Representative for Sprint.


      • Ben Ballard
        June 9, 2016 at 5:38 am

        Sprint? Never heard of them (as I’m in the UK), however, I did find this about them :

        You work for a company “that operates the weakest of the four major American networks – good enough for many but frustratingly slow in the age of streaming video.”

        Not necessarily a glowing report with which to take your advice by? If you work for a company that is fourth best in reputation, am I to take it that your “experience” and sales technique/knowledge are ranked fourth also? A company is only as good as it’s employee’s training and your 4th rate company seems as though it only offers 4th rate training.

        I for one wouldn’t be buying a Sprint device/service provision if I found myself on US soil, and would rather be going with Verizon or AT&T, who, might be more expensive but offer a faster service for my data and calling needs.

        Anyway, after a digression, back OT I think.

        Let’s do some comparisons shall we?

        > iPhone 6S: 7.1mm thick, Series 7000 anodised aluminium back
        > Galaxy S6: 6.9mm thick, aluminium unibody and glass panel

        Slightly slimmer on the S6 body stakes, even though the S6 might have a glass back, I’d much rather got with less pocket bulk when carrying my device. The potential shattering through dropage of the S6 doesn’t apply to me as I’ve never dropped a single mobile in my life.

        > iPhone 6S: 4.7-inch, 1334 x 750 IPS LCD, 3D Touch
        > Galaxy S6: 5.1-inch, 2440 x 1560 ‘QHD’ Super AMOLED

        Larger screen size with the S6 so better for media streaming, game playing area and experience immersion, better useability for serious business users when editing documents etc on the move, and that’s just for starters. Apple have a lower resolution and lesser quality grade screen, so images (moving and still) aren’t anywhere as near as sharp compared to the S6. Couple that with the pristine whites and deep blacks of OLED tech, then again, the screen is a much better quality performance. OK, so the iPhone has the 3D touch feature, but when it goes wrong? BOY does it go wrong and cause no end of problems for the user. Not least to mention if you want to have it repaired by a “non Apple” repairer. 3D touch also has very little or no use in Apps etc and can only be used in limited places within your iPhone ^s infrastructure, much better to go with a more solid screen as far as capablities are concerned and better quality. Something 6s users are painfully aware of as the “ooooh shiny shiny factor” ears off with massive lacklustre effects.

        >>>>> To answer your response about a “Partial screen on the side of your phone is a gimmick” then you obviously haven’t fully understood the uses of this side screen?

        1: The Edge screen is ambidextrous for right and left hand users, allowing you to streamline the useage. If you’re a right hand user that works left to right, or, a left hand user that works from right to left, it’ll capably take that into account.

        2: The Edge screen will also display a discreet clock, which is great for night time use, as you don’t have the large background glow of a full face clock when you’re trying to sleep at night. You can also customise it to come on at a certain time if you’re a creature of habit.

        3: The Edge screen can be customised with 5 contacts that you use regularly, it will also allow you to customise a colour for each, and then light the edge up according to the contacts. Useful for business meetings and don’t want the full face of your phone on display in that crucial meeting but need to keep up with who’s contacted you. Also useful for when you’re in the pub with your friends and don’t want them to know your GF is calling you to get home cos you’re out later than you said you were! 😉

        4: The Edge display will also allow you to send a quick reply for when you’re busy, cutting out the need for faffing aorund and disturbing what you’re up to. Streamlining your phone useage.

        5: It will also feed in any RSS feeds or other notifications in a ticker tape readout.

        There are also a whole host of other uses for the edge display on your phone… still think the Edge is a gimmick rather than a tool?

        >iPhone 6S: Apple A9 64-bit dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM
        >Galaxy S6: Exynos 7420 64-bit octa-core, 3GB RAM

        I think that the comparison here is fairly obvious? The S6 has multiple cores with multiple threads, so can multi task better and therefore also cut down on the lag too. The S6 runs LPDDR4 (Low Power Double Data Rate) RAM, with 50% more RAM than in an iPhone 6s. The 6s also runs LPDDR4 RAM but has less of it, AND, the LPDDR4 RAM that goes into an iPhone is made by, guess who? SAMSUNG!

        > iPhone 6S: 12-megapixel rear camera, f/2.2 aperture, dual LED flash, 4K video recording
        > Galaxy S6: 16-megapixel rear camera, f/1.9 aperture single LED flash, OIS, 4K video recording

        With the iPhone camera quality being less in quality (4mp) you’re not going to get as good a detailed or colour quality capture as you do with the Samsung S6 camera. The S6 also has a lower f or aperture rating, so is able to capture better photos in lesser or lower light levels. The Samsung S6 also uses the Sony Exmor IMX240 sensor on the rear facing camera, and Exmor sensors are used in the high end Sony, Nikon and Canon DSLRs. It uses Samsung’s own ISOCELL sensor on the front facing camera. There’s also OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) on the S6, which helps to cut down on the blur and shake factor. In the world of Cameras, Optical is ALWAYS better than Digital (I speak from experience as I’m also a Photographer that runs a Nikon D7000). The provision of a Pro manual editing suite on the S6 (The iPhone seriously lacks in this area) also helps. Detail capture is always better than colour capture in images, you can tweak colour, you CAN’T tweak base image detail capture.

        > iPhone 6S: iOS 9
        > Galaxy S6: Android 5.1 Lollipop with TouchWiz UI

        Yes, whilst the iOS software is undoubtedly solid (but largely unchanged since iOS 4 onwards in it’s core operations and functionality), Android has made the most advancements in terms of revolutionising people’s use of mobile OS’s. In recent years though, Apple has caught up with Android’s core feature count – largely through aping Google’s work. As far as on-board assistants go, Samsung S Voice isn’t as good as Siri, however, with the S6 running on Android, there’s Google Now.. and THAT is much better than poor old Siri.


  • mikeyb
    June 28, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    The iPhone 7 won’t have a 4k display so the “4k capable” info is completely useless.


  • Max Baer
    August 7, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    The naked eye can’t detect the 4K resolution on a 5-inch screen, so there’s no useful purpose in smartphone manufacturers providing that feature aside from bragging rights. What is of consequence is the ability to output 4K video content from a smartphone to screens large enough where the extra resolution is detectable, such as 55-inch TVs.


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