updated 01:52 pm EST, Mon January 7, 2013
Job listing effectively confirms ac-equipped Macs
Apple is searching for a system test engineer with knowledge of 802.11ac Wi-Fi, reports note. The person will in fact have to specialize in Wi-Fi, and work at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, where they will be tasked with "testing, automating, leading, and working closely with the entire cross-functional team to ensure quality for Macintosh products." The opening may all but confirm that Apple plans to update 2013 Macs with 802.11ac.
The ac standard is a significant upgrade over 802.11n, used on current Apple products and throughout most of the computing industry. Whereas an n device is only capable of transfers up to 450Mbps using three antennas, an ac device can hit 1.3Gbps under that configuration, or 450Mbps via a single antenna. Most home Internet connections can't maximize either standard, but ac may be extremely important for LANs, where increasingly large files are being copied or streamed.
Apple will likely want updated AirPort and Time Capsule routers to complement any new Macs. iOS devices have typically lagged behind in adopting new Wi-Fi standards, but could still make the jump to ac this year if small-enough Wi-Fi chips are developed in time.