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The U.S. Patent Office Published a series of Five 5G Related Inventions that may be found in Future iDevices

1  X cover Apple 5G Chip


Apple won't be releasing a 5G ready iPhone this year. It won't really matter all that much as it'll take until 2020-2021 for 5G to be built out in all major markets around the world. In April Apple and Qualcomm settled their patent battle and Apple signed a six year deal with Qualcomm with a two year extension option for 5G chips. Then in July Apple signed an agreement to acquire the majority of Intel's 5G modem business to further differentiate its products. 5G speeds will provide faster downloads of movies, shows and games from Apple's upcoming Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade services.


Finally, we posted another report in late July titled "Apple has an Aggressive Roadmap for 5G Modems and may begin Limited Market Testing in Products as soon as 2021." In that report we noted that "Apple has engaged with Taiwan’s Global Unichip Corp, a chip design house in which Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is an investor, to explore a modem design.

Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of Apple 5G related patent applications. There's a saying that "Laws are like sausages. It is better not to see them being made." Reading about the nuts and bolts behind Apple working on 5G technologies for future iDevices is kind of the same thing. Steeped in engineering speak, these patents are hard reads for average consumers.


However, for wireless technology geeks and engineers in the Apple community, the lingo and terminologies found in Apple's 5G patents are common place. So for our engineering fans, check out the five Apple patent applications that were published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office regarding 5G related technologies.


Patent #1

Hidden WLAN Detection for Better Ecosystem Design in 5G


Apple's patent relates to apparatuses, systems, and methods to detect a hidden network (e.g., a wireless local area network (WLAN)). A base station (BS) and user equipment (UE) may communicate according to a first radio access technology (RAT), e.g., cellular/5G. The BS may transmit monitoring parameters to the UE. The monitoring parameters may specify intervals for monitoring WLAN traffic.


Patent #2

Apparatus, System, and Method for Performing GUTI Reallocation


The purpose of the 5G-GUTI is to provide an unambiguous identification of the UE (user equipment) that does not reveal the UE or the user's permanent identity in the 5G System (5GS). It also allows the identification of the Access and Mobility Management Function (AMF) and network. It can be used by the network and the UE to establish the UE's identity during signaling between them in the 5GS.


Apple notes that "Wireless communication systems are rapidly growing in usage. Further, wireless communication technology has evolved from voice-only communications to also include the transmission of data, such as Internet and multimedia content. Additionally, security has become increasingly important in wireless communication, particularly where communication flows are can be hijacked. Thus, improvements in the field are desired."  


Apple's patent covers apparatuses, systems, and methods to perform global unique temporary identifier (GUTI) reallocation for a wireless device.


Apple's patent FIG. 8 below is a flowchart diagram illustrating a method for refreshing GUTI based on a requested timer.


2 Apple patent FIG. 8 new 5G-GUTI


Patent #3:

Implicit Radio Resource Control State Transitions


Apple's invention covers apparatuses, systems, and methods for performing implicit radio resource control state transitions in a cellular communication system.


In some cellular communication systems, there may be several possible radio resource control (RRC) states in which a wireless device can operate. For example, in addition to a RRC connected state, in 5G NR it may also be possible to operate in a RRC idle or RRC inactive state, at least according to some embodiments.


Patent #4

Hierarchical Beamforming Structure and Transmission of Beam Indication to Improve Device Mobility and Reduce Network Traffic Overhead in New Radio (NR)


Apple notes that "A proposed next telecommunications standards moving beyond the current International Mobile Telecommunications-Advanced (IMT-Advanced) Standards is called 5th generation mobile networks or 5th generation wireless systems, referred to as 3GPP NR (otherwise known as 5G-NR for 5G New Radio, also simply referred to as NR). NR proposes a higher capacity for a higher density of mobile broadband users, also supporting device-to-device, ultra-reliable, and massive machine communications, as well as lower latency and lower battery consumption, than current LTE standards."


Apple's patent in-part covers a hierarchical beamforming structure that may help reduce network traffic overhead for transmission of beam indication (information) and enable efficient Transmission Configuration Indication, while facilitating beam tracking between a base station(s) and a mobile device(s) during downlink communications."


Patent #5

Uplink Transmission Puncturing to Reduce Interference between Wireless Services


Wireless communication systems are rapidly growing in usage. Additionally, there exist numerous different wireless communication technologies and standards. Some examples of wireless communication technologies include GSM, UMTS (associated with, for example, WCDMA or TD-SCDMA air interfaces), LTE, LTE Advanced (LTE-A), HSPA, 3GPP2 CDMA2000 (e.g., 1.times. RTT, 1.times. EV-DO, HRPD, eHRPD), IEEE 802.11 (WLAN or Wi-Fi), IEEE 802.16 (WiMAX), Bluetooth, and others.


For some wireless communications standards, such as the 5G air interface physical layer design for example, various different types of services are being proposed.


For example, an enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) service may provide high-rate data service with a latency requirement (e.g., 4 ms) and an ultra reliable low latency (URLLC) service may provide highly reliable service with a lower latency requirement (e.g., 0.5 ms) than eMBB. Speaking generally, different services that use a unified physical layer framework may have very different natures in terms of reliability, latency, data rate, etc.


Accommodating such different services while maintaining performance, low complexity, and low power consumption (e.g., both at the base station and mobile devices) may be challenging – and this is what Apple's invention works at resolving.


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Considering that these are patent applications, the timing of such 5G technologies to market is unknown at this time.


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