Apple is planning to give the 802.11ac wireless networking standard a big boost in 2013, according to a new report from TheNextWeb. Sources tell the blog that Apple will partner with Broadcom to bring the next-gen Wi-Fi tech to new Macs. 802.11ac is the successor to 802.11n, but it has yet to make its way to many shipping notebooks.
802.11ac “Gigabit Wi-Fi” offers theoretical maximum networking speeds of roughly three times those currently offered by 802.11n. The standard is still in Draft, which means that it hasn’t received final approval by the IEEE, and isn’t likely to until at least later in 2013. Still, Apple has shown itself willing to ship products using draft versions of wireless standards in the past, and it’s a fairly common practice among consumer device makers. Routers have also already been brought to market which offers 802.11ac networking speeds, although so far, Apple’s own AirPort devices don’t boast those capabilities.
TNW reports that the Wi-Fi chip being developed by Broadcom for inclusion in Macs is still in development, but that if all goes according to plan, they will make their way into new Macs shipping this year. As with Thunderbolt, it may take a little while for consumers to see the added value of the inclusion of 802.11ac as mobile devices, routers and other gadgets catch up. Ionically, 802.11ac support was rumored for inclusion in Apple’s AirPort base stations, Apple TV and even potentially mobile devices around the same time last year, but that never materialized. This new report suggests that in fact, notebooks could be where we see it pop up first among Apple’s hardware lineup.