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Apple Patent Reveals finer details about their next-gen 5G Technology Supporting both Millimeter and Centimeter Wave Circuitry

1 Cover MM & CM phased antenna array


There's no doubt that 5G executed properly will provide Apple's next-gen iPhones with new capabilities and services from advanced AR apps and superior streaming services for Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and hopefully vastly improved FaceTime quality. Consumers just want to know that Apple will deliver a better wireless iPhone experience for faster downloads and new services. On the other hand, engineers and technically savvy consumers are just as interested in knowing what's behind Apple's next-gen technology and today's patent will hopefully feed that need. Apple's invention covers wireless and control circuitry that may perform spatial ranging operations using a multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) radio detection and ranging (RADAR) scheme as it relates to Apple's next-gen 5G iPhone technology.


In late April, Patently Apple posted a report on future 5G technology as it relates to 5G iPhones with Millimeter and Centimeter Wave Communications. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that continues on this very same theme and even shares some patent figures from the previous patent in April while introducing new images and aspects of the technology. The two patents combined provide techies with a better overview of Apple's 5G antenna setup.


Apple notes that it may be desirable to support spatial ranging operations at millimeter and centimeter wave frequencies between 10 GHz and 300 GHz. However, if care is not taken, the wireless circuitry will exhibit insufficient bandwidth for performing satisfactory spatial ranging operations at these frequencies.


It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide electronic devices with wireless circuitry that supports millimeter and centimeter wave spatial ranging operations at relatively high bandwidths.


Apple's invention covers wireless and control circuitry that may perform spatial ranging operations using a multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) radio detection and ranging (RADAR) scheme.


The wireless circuitry may include a radio-frequency integrated circuit having transmit ports and receive ports. Millimeter and centimeter wave transceiver circuitry may be formed on the radio-frequency integrated circuit. Phase and magnitude controllers may be coupled to each of the transmit and receive ports. The wireless circuitry may include a phased antenna array coupled to the radio-frequency integrated circuit.


The first and second sets of stacked patch antennas may configure the phased antenna array to support relatively wide bandwidths such as bandwidths greater than 1 GHz. This may allow an iPhone to perform the spatial ranging operations over a relatively wide range of frequencies such as frequencies from 57 GHz to 61 GHz.


Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a perspective view of an illustrative electronic device (iPhone) with wireless circuitry positioned in the corners of the face side; FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of an iPhone with wireless circuitry in the corners and sidewall areas.  


2 millimeter  centimeter wave antenna arrays


Apple's patent FIG. 3 above is a schematic diagram of an iPhone with wireless circuitry and especially indicating the use of both Millimeter (MM) and Centimeter (CM) wave transceiver circuitry. FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram showing how illustrative millimeter and centimeter wave transceiver circuitry may be coupled to an antenna using a radio-frequency transmission line in accordance with some embodiments.


Apple's patent FIG. 5 below shows how antennas #30 for handling radio-frequency signals at millimeter and centimeter wave frequencies may be formed in a phased antenna array.


3 phased array antenna


Apple's patent application 20200182964 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in late Q3 2019.


For those wanting to dive deeper into a segment of Apple's 5G antenna construction, click here. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.


Apple's inventors are listed as Sr. Manager Antenna Technology Mr. Carlo DiNallo and Sr. Antenna/Wireless Manager Ms. Simone Paulotto.


Eye and Head Tracking Patent 


For the record, USPTO published another patent application today for Apple titled "Eye and Head Tracking." Although the patent filing doesn't register itself as a "continuation patent" it is by having been granted last year. Apple has made some tweaks to their legal patent claims but not worthy writing a report about it. In late December 2019 Patently Apple covered this as a granted patent titled "Apple wins a an Advanced 3D Face ID System using an Eye Tracking System and more." If you're interesting in knowing what this patent is all about, then be sure to check out our December report here


10.51FX - Patent Application Bar


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