In his latest note to investors, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple will adopt a new combination of Modified PI or MPI technology for its 2019 iPhone antennas, 9to5Mac reports.
Current iPhones use the Liquid Crystal Polymer or LCP antenna technology which is more “brittle” than alternatives and thus has issues with yield rate. Additionally, Apple is believed to have “lower bargaining power” against the limited number of LCP material suppliers due to its “complicated production process”.
In terms of performance, the analyst says Modified PI antenna can be as good as LCP, thanks to the improved formula. Kuo, however, believes that both LCP and MPI will be involved in the push towards 5G technology.
Kuo specifically predicts that the 2019 iPhone models will adopt four MPI antennae and two LCP antennae. Currently, the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max are each equipped with six LCP antenna.
The number of suppliers for MPI antennae for the 2019 iPhones will be five, according to Kuo. This gives Apple improved bargaining power, with the suppliers having to compete on price. The LCP antennae tech used in the 2019 iPhones will be supplied “exclusively by the Japanese supplier thanks to its better vertical integration,” according to Kuo.
Although LCP is said to offer advantages in areas like consistent performance and low loss, MPI is believed to be catching up fast as well.