In 2013 Apple's new Macs, Apple TV, Time Capsule and Airport devices will support 802.11ac networking, sometimes referred to as 'Gig Wifi' of 5G WiFi, according to reports.
Industry sources claim that Apple is working with Broadcom to incorporate that company's 802.11ac chips in its next generation of Macs. The new technology will bring superfast WiFi connectivity to Macs, speeding up throughput as well as improving coverage (it can increase the distance from which you can connect to an access point), and also supercharging Apple's AirDrop features and WiFi syncing.
It is unclear when in 2013 the chips will make their way into the new Mac line up, according to TheNextWeb's sources: "The WiFi chip isn’t currently available and is still in development. As for availability, we have been told that if work goes according to schedule, they should be part of the new line of Mac computers coming in 2013."
The chips, while sometimes referred to as '5G Wi-Fi' do not correlate with 3G and 4G cellphone networks, so don't expect the iOS devices to be upgraded straight away.
"There is no word on whether Apple will introduce similar chipsets in the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Time Capsule or other products," states TheNextWeb.
What is 802.11ac?
802.11ac is the successor to 802.11n. However, the standard is still in Draft, not having received final approval by the IEEE, yet. This approval isn’t likely to come until later in 2013. This doesn't mean that Apple will wait until the standard is approved – Apple has shipped products using draft versions of wireless standards in the past (see 802.11n).
The draft status hasn't stopped other companies from using it. In June 2012 an Asus laptop was the first to incorporate the standard, although 802.11ac is yet to make its way to mainstream notebooks.
By way of comparison, 802.11n products provide connections of up to 450Mbps using three antennas, while 802.11ac products can offer 450Mbps per antennae - that's 1.3Gbps from three antennas, almost triple what is offered by 802.11n.
Broadcom is one of only a small number of chipmakers currently providing these 802.11ac chipsets. The company is likely to showcase the latest advancements at the Consumer Electronics Show 2012.
This isn't the first time Apple has been rumoured to be adopting 802.11ac. The rumour first surfaced in 2012, although as far back as 2011 Apple began including three send and receive antennas in its Thunderbolt-ready MacBook Pro and iMac computers, which, according to TheNextWeb, offered up to 450Mbps on 5GHz 802.11ac networks