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Kuo: in 2020, new antennas in the iPhone thanks to 5G

Ming-Chi Kuo analyst published a new note for investors, in which focuses on future iPhones. He predicts that in 2020, iPhones will support millimeter waves for 5G, and will also be responsible for 15% to 20% of sales of new Apple smartphones in the second half of 2020.

Kuo announces that Apple will add 5G support to all new iPhones in 2020 this year, and will use Qualcomm modems for this. Smartphones are designed to support both millimeter waves and frequencies below 6GHz. This will allow iPhones to work in many 5G networks.

We expect that the shipment allocation of iPhone models that support 5G mmWave will account for 15 – 20% of the total shipments of new 2H20 iPhone models. This will benefit LCP FPC usage a lot, given the 5G mmWave iPhone uses three LCP FPC units (vs. other iPhone models' single LCP FPC unit).

Another information is that LCP technology will be used to design and manufacture antennas. The first antennas of this type were on the iPhone X in 2017, but are currently not used in all models. Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) technology is a desirable material for antenna production. It works equally efficiently at different temperatures and has very low losses, which is a desirable feature for the 5G network.

iPhones using LCP FPC antennas are 45-50% deliveries in 2019 year, while this is to increase to 70-75% in 2020 years, among others thanks to:

  1. The successor of the iPhone 11 will have LCP FPC antennas
  2. iPhone 7, which did not have LCP FPC antennas are no longer produced
  3. IPhone XR deliveries will be smaller (also there are no LCP FPC antennas)

The change in antenna design and production is dictated by the requirements of the 5G network. Apple is currently dependent on deliveries from producers who produce in LCP technology, and these are expected to increase. It remains for us to wait until next year for the use of these antennas and tests in 5G networks.

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