Apple is building an IoT device – or, at least, as far as it seems from the FCC and NCC certification platform. Indeed, Apple has filed regulatory documents with the FCC for a network adapter. According to Apple, it is for internal use only. We are talking about a low-power Wi-Fi transmitter operating below 1 GHz. The sub-1GHz frequency suggests it will likely use the 802.11ah protocol for IoT applications. In other words, Apple is building an IoT device.
Speaking of specs, the device features one, maybe two ethernet port, a Lightning connector, antenna, and an integrated battery. Also, it mounts 32GB internal storage and a 1GB RAM. Form factor-wise, it has the shape of a small rectangular brick. It measures 11.5 cm in length and 3.5 cm in width, roughly. According to Apple’s certification documents on NCC, we are talking about an A2059 battery with a 291.8mAh capacity. Moreover, the certification also unveils that the device will ship with an Apple A1401 power adapter from Flextronics, with a 12.48W output. Last but not least, it features Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity.
As you can expect, the device is shrouded in mystery. Still, the FCC filing reveals the codename “Meerkat” as well as the model, A2282. Neither of those are associated with Apple products on the market. As reported by the document, Meerkat is a “proprietary network adapter” not meant for consumers. The filing also clarifies its purpose, i.e. “to optimize recognition or addition of a trusted device for security purpose”. Based on the filing, Apple sees Meerkat as some kind of IoT security or authentication system. Same as for consumer products, Apple will require a proprietary door access badge reading system, revealed in the 2017 FCC filing.
As of today, we still don’t know the purpose of Meerkat. As with everything Apple builds, mystery is king. However, Apple building an IoT device may well sign Apple’s entry into IoT, and that’s remarkable per se. Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM have all become big players in the Internet of Things ecosystem. Governments all over the world are launching funds. It is only a matter of time before Apple makes a move into the IoT domain.