Apple is rumoured to be using a new material for its antennas in this year’s iPhone models.
That’s according to a new note from famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF Securities (via 9to5Mac) which explains that the Cupertino company is planning to use a modified-PI (MPI) material for most of its 2019 model iPhone antennas, as opposed to the liquid crystal polymer (LCP) material currently used in the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR antennas.
“We believe that the liquid crystal polymer antenna limits the iPhone XS Max/XS/XR’s RF performance in some cases because of production issues even though LCP theoretically has advantages for high-frequency RF transmission,” reads the note.
The change will enhance the iPhone’s performance as it relates to indoor navigation and improve yield rates due to a more reliable production process. Kuo said the modified PI-antennas will deliver comparable performance as the LCP antennas for 4G LTE. The 2020 5G iPhones will likely switch back to LCP antennas, Kuo noted.
Even still, Kuo anticipates a 10-20 percent increase in cost year-over-year to adopt the new antenna technology.
This temporary switch to a modified-PI antenna design shouldn’t generate any difference in terms of 4G performance. However, the return to the original LCP system will take place at a time when Apple plans to launch the very first 5G iPhone using modems designed by Qualcomm and Samsung.
Apple is expected to launch three different iPhone models this year, all successors to the 2018 lineup. The 2019 iPhone generation will be the last one to include an LCD version, as Apple will make the full switch to OLED beginning with the 2020 series.