A new report by Fast Company says that Apple has decided to remove core 5G tech from iPhone 12 and is starting from scratch. This means we might be looking at an Apple 5G antenna in the near future. Previously, Apple had planned to debut its first 5G iPhones before the end of 2020, powered by Qualcomm’s X55 modem. However, the site reports that Apple is dissatisfied with the design of Qualcomm’s 5G antenna module as it’s too bulky for the “sleek industrial design Apple wants for the new phone”.
So now Apple is said to be working on its in-house antenna system that would fit the intended design of the iPhone better. While some reports suggest that Apple might use its own 5G antenna in its 2020 iPhones, this has not been finalized yet. The Cupertino-based tech giant is apparently considering two design options: a thinner version with Apple’s 5G antenna and a thicker one with Qualcomm’s antenna.
Antennas for accessing the faster mmWave version of 5G are necessary because this ultra-fast wireless tech has a relatively weak range. 5G phones also typically need multiple mmWave antennas to ensure proper connectivity.
Apple’s move towards developing its own 5G antenna system is a smart decision as the company’s reliance on Qualcomm is most likely going to be temporary. The company reportedly still feels that they’re “getting screwed on royalties” by Qualcomm. If you didn’t know, Apple and Qualcomm had been tangled in a massive legal battle that saw the two tech giants sue one another in courts all over the globe. According to Fast Company, Apple had only settled its ongoing lawsuit because its then-partner Intel had failed to deliver Apple’s 5G chips in the time frame they wanted.
Apple’s acquisition of Intel’s smartphone modem business in July 2019 allowed it to build on Intel’s groundwork for developing fully-customized, in-house modems for future iPhones, iPads, and other devices. It may take a while for the modem group to produce an antenna for Apple’s 5G iPhones that’s comparable to Qualcomm’s, but we have a lot of hope in Apple’s innovative capabilities. Let’s see what they come up with!