Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is out with a new investor note today focused on the breakdown of different iPhone models in 2020. Kuo predicts that new mmWave 5G iPhone models will account for between 15% and 20% of new iPhone shipments during the second half of 2020.
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Kuo has predicted that Apple will bring 5G technology to all new iPhone models in 2020. The company is expected to use modems from Qualcomm. Kuo believes that the 5G iPhone models will support both mmWave and sub-6GHz bands. This will allow the iPhone to interoperate well with the 5G cell towers installed across the United States.
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 focus of Kuo in this report is the adoption of LCP antenna design, which first made its way to the iPhone X in 2017, but hasn’t fully rolled out to every iPhone model. Liquid Crystal Polymer, or LCP, is a desirable material for antenna technology as it performs consistently across differing temperatures and has very low loss, which makes it good for 5G technology.
Kuo predicts that the shipment allocation of iPhone models equipped with LCP FPC will increase to 70-75% in 2020 from 45-50% in 2019. The three reasons for this:
- The phone 11 successor will adopt LCP FPC in more areas
- The iPhone 7 series, which was not equipped with LCP FPC has been discontinued
- iPhone XR shipments will decline – it was also not equipped with LCP FPC
What this means is that Apple is continuing to make the shift to LCP antenna technology across its entire iPhone lineup, which should bring improved data performance in the age of 5G.
Kuo has previously outlined the benefits of other antenna technology, and in many cases, Apple’s decision comes down to part and supplier availability. That being said, production improvements and improved yield rates make LCP a desirable antenna material given the other benefits it offers for 5G data.
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