Apple has studied the possibility of joining an auction for the rights to use a highly-coveted wireless spectrum, according to BusinessWeek sources. The 700Mhz spectrum currently occupied by analog TV broadcasts will be given back to the government in 2009, and the Federal Communications Commission will hold an auction for usage rights on Jan. 16. According to rules set in place by the FCC, the winning bidder must allow any device or application to run, which means the winning bidder must also make sure the network supports competitors’ devices. The minimum bid required by the government is $4.6 billion; it’s expected that the winning bid will be around $9 billion. Labeled “beachfront property” by the FCC, signals at the spectrum could provide far faster Internet access than current cellular or Wi-Fi networks, and could be used by Apple to provide its own wireless service for devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch, and Macs.