Following the discovery of code strings in an OS X 10.8.4 beta revealing that Apple plans to bring gigabit-speed 802.11ac WiFi to future Macs, a new Broadcom chipset has been spotted to add even more evidence to the growing mount (via 9to5Mac). The chip appears to be a custom-designed chip intended for use in an as yet unreleased iMac. It is identical in form factor to the WiFi chip in Apple’s current iMacs and MacBooks, and combines both 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth on the same chip.
Additionally, the chip would make it possible for users to add 802.11ac WiFi to current-generation Macs that otherwise wouldn’t support it. It’s unclear when Apple is planning to release their next round of updated Macs, although rumors have suggested new models could launch in June, close around Apple’s WWDC event, or shortly thereafter.
802.11ac offers significant improvements over older WiFi standards, such as support for speeds in excess of 1Gbps – over twice as fast as the maximum 450Mbps supported by 802.11n. Like its predecessor, it also supports advanced WiFi features, such as those required for Apple’s AirPlay and AirDrop technologies.
New Macs are coming – and it seems practically a given that they will include 802.11ac at this point – it’s no longer a matter of if, but when!