Apple to use its own 5G antenna in its 2020 iPhones?

Apple 5G Antenna

Apple 5G is yet to be available globally, but several companies are keen to include the technology in their 2020 product releases. Apple is taking part as well. The giant phone manufacturer has recently announced its plans to launch the 2020 devices with 5G support. Reports are also claiming that Apple will partner with Qualcomm to include 5G modern chips in its 2020 iPhone lineup.

What we know

5G connectivity is ready for the rollout phase, and Apple is among the first companies to debut the tech on its 2020 device lineup. The upcoming release models will likely use the trendy Snapdragon X55 chip to improve its network speeds and even higher market value. However, Apple might have revealed its plans to use a more sustaining design in its 5G modem. The giant iPhone maker argues that Qualcomm’s antenna is somewhat big its 2020 models.

Around April 2019, Apple entered a legal battle with Qualcomm over the new 5G technology to be included in the 2020 devices to be launched this fall. And while they might have reached a consensus, Apple is reportedly not satisfied with Qualcomm’s current 5G antenna design. As such the company might have found a way to finally get rid of Qualcomm by engineering its own 5G antenna design for the new phones.

Apple has a long history of making several design patents for its upcoming products. As such reports are claiming that the iPhone maker is currently designing design patents that can accommodate Qualcomm’s antennas. This strengthens their decision to possibly introduce iPhones with Qualcomm chips. But the decision isn’t clear yet.

Apple has also been unlucky with making its own antenna chips in the past – with its major disappointment seen with the iPhone 4 model. Being in the industry is proving tricky designing their own 5G chips, but the idea is still in consideration.

Qualcomm, on the other hand, is purposeful to keep its top client. So much that they announced in December that the company is determined to help Apple with its 5G iPhone production. This statement came months after a legal lawsuit that forced the two companies to agree to work together. However, Ming-Chi Kuo has also recently claimed that Apple is working for alternatives. The main reason, reduce production costs and avoid paying royalty fees.

Is Apple possibly canceling Qualcomm?

According to Apple, Qualcomm’s QTM525 antenna is oversized and too large for its new iPhone range. This is in terms of Qualcomm’s chip lacking in terms of accessing faster mmWave 5G connectivity. These developments have pushed Apple to the drawing board of creating its own antennas, fit for the expected slim iPhone design.

Worth knowing, antennas that use the mmWave are most preferred, considering the poor signal range of the super-fast wireless tech. Furthermore, most 5G-enabled devices will need multiple mmWave antennas if they are to stand a chance of decent connectivity.

However, at the time of this report, there is no confirmation if Apple will use its own 5G antenna on its new iPhones. But bear in mind that the iPhone maker is currently debating between two iPhone designs:

  • A thinner iPhone that uses Apple-made antennas or
  • A rather thicker device that can accommodate Qualcomm’s 5G chips.

Apple’s new speculation to make its own antennas is justified. The company relies on chip producers and is facing unending lawsuits. For instance, their just settled lawsuit is majorly connected to its previous chip provider – Intel – who couldn’t deliver the 5G antennas in the required timeframes.

Apple has also raised numerous concerns in the past about getting compromised on royalties when dealing with Qualcomm. The company has no option but to pay for Qualcomm’s parts on the iPhone, as well as royalties for intellectual property. Because of this, the new move makes sense given the company’s aspirations to reduce the product cost.

Sequentially, Apple has recently acquired Intel’s whole 5G chip operation. And this has enabled Apple to have a working infrastructure to make customized chips for their future products, including iPhones, iPads, smartwatches and more. However, I fear it might take several “failed attempts” before Apple can make chips the standard of Qualcomm’s. But their new drive to try is quite commendable, something that has the market excited about the upcoming 5G-enabled iPhones.

Pressure from competitors?

Apple’s major competitors have already launched 5G enabled phones in 2020, including Samsung’s GalxyS20. According to the company’s analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, he’s anticipating that Apple will debut up to three 5G-enabled iPhones in 2020. Apple hasn’t confirmed the rumors though.

Experts also predict that Apple will unveil the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, as well as the iPhone 12 Pro Max this fall. The devices ship in dark blue colors. To top it, the new devices could also sport Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint reader.

Apple’s next move?

The decision about who will eventually manufacture the 5G antennas for the 2020 models is controversial. Apple’s plans are surprisingly flexible, and the news comes months before the new launch. Apple has time to adjust and make much-needed production plans. The company can add and remove features of its upcoming devices. But the demand for 5G enabled antennas remains. Apple also has two options to consider, and the decision will dictate the shape and design of iPhones they’ll produce.

At the moment Apple hasn’t made a final decision, and we’ll provide a timely update once they do.

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