Next Year's iPhone Will Pave Way for 5G, Analyst Predicts

Ming-Chi Kuo sees Apple making some big changes.

The iPhone could get more advanced antennas with next year’s launch, which would pave the way for next-generation 5G connectivity. Ming-Chi Kuo, a famed analyst at TF International Securities, said in a Saturday report that the company will adopt a combination of technologies by sourcing new parts from five suppliers.

The report, as seen by AppleInsider, explains that the current iPhone models like the XS and XR use six liquid crystal polymer antennas, which are cheap and good for communications across a variety of radio frequencies. For next year’s phones, Kuo predicts Apple will use two LCP antennas and a further four modified polyimide antennas. This transition will come as Apple aims to transition onto 5G connections, expected to occur in 2020. Tests from Qualcomm found that 5G can boost download speeds from 56 Mbps from standard 4G, up to 1.4 Gbps on 5G, in select conditions.

The iPhone could get a speed boost.
The iPhone could get a speed boost.

See more: iPhone 5G: Release Date, Price and Specs for Apple’s 2020 Phone

The report notes that 5G is a nascent technology and its demands are changing over time. A previous report claims Apple will use an Intel 8161 model with a 10-nanometer process to power its 5G implementation, using an 8060 version of the chip in prototypes. These chips are causing problems, as the millimeter-wave spectrum produces large amounts of heat and lowers battery life. While 5G was finalized as a standard in June 2018, Apple is no stranger to sitting out new technologies, only building in 3G with the launch of the second-generation iPhone in 2008.

One of the big changes with this transition is the fact that Apple will move from using two suppliers for MPI antenna to using five suppliers in this mixed arrangement. This expansion gives Apple greater flexibility in terms of component shortages and price negotiations. The company is also showing similar flexibility in its modem supplier, with previous reports listing MediaTek as a potential replacement for Intel.

Apple has yet to announce a launch date for its next iPhones. Apple has announced new iPhones every September for the past six years, meaning a launch around this sort of time period is a safe bet.