iPhone 15 leaks have revealed many of the phone’s biggest upgrades. Now a new report claims Apple will equip models with Wi-Fi 6E, described as “the most disruptive boon for Wi-Fi users in the last 20 years.”
The news comes via a Barclays analyst research note seen by MacRumors. The move makes sense because Apple has already brought Wi-Fi 6E to its iPad Pro, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini lineups. Unfortunately, Barclays does not reveal whether Wi-Fi 6E will come to all iPhone 15 models or just the Pro models. I suspect it may be the latter, which would be a shame.
Why? In the words of Kevin Robinson, senior vice president for the Wi-Fi Alliance:
“You’re going from one to maybe two 160 megahertz channels [with Wi-Fi 6], and these are ultra-wide channels that allow very, very high performance… up to seven of these super-wide channels in the 6GHz [Wi-Fi 6E] band. It’s critical when you’re in, let’s say, multi-dwelling units. Think of New York, Chicago and with high-rise buildings around the planet, think of stadiums, that’s where it becomes essential to have that additional capacity.”
Moreover, it isn’t only the peak performance of the 6Hz band which makes Wi-Fi 6E crucial long term, it is the saturation of the 5GHz band currently used by most routers and devices sold today. As Robinson explains, “We were simply approaching a scenario where there would not have been enough spectrum and capacity for people to do everything they wanted to do, and what we envision happening over Wi-Fi.”
And this is the key factor in the transition to Wi-Fi 6E. iPhones are sharing bandwidth with ever more WiFi networks and connected devices, particularly smart home devices. This makes breaking into a new band critical if users want to maintain ultra-fast and reliable WiFi connections long-term.
Consequently, while it may not get the headlines it deserves, Wi-Fi 6E is perhaps the most future-proof functionality you can bring to any device today. Given the standard was expected to come to the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14, and has already been adopted by most Android flagships, it is a necessary and overdue upgrade.
Of course, the downside is Wi-Fi 6E chips are more expensive than their predecessors. So in combination with other hotly-tipped iPhone 15 upgrades, like haptic buttons, dual front-facing cameras, a titanium chassis and Thunderbolt 4 ports for Pro models, the range’s widely expected price rises look more likely than ever.