The well-known analyst (and whistleblower of future Apple technologies) Ming-Chi Kuo returned to talking about the next line of iPhones, after predicting improvements in the Face ID of gadgets 2019. This time, Kuo suggested that the Apple will replace the antenna of liquid crystal polymer (LCP) by modified polyamide (MPI) on future phones.
Apple currently uses six LCP antennas on the XS, XS Max and XR iPhones. According to the analyst, the company plans to reduce that number to two and implement four other MPI antennas. Among the benefits of switching to this material, the company would have more bargaining power in relation to its LCP suppliers, increasing from two to five possible suppliers; in addition, the MPI production process is more reliable, in addition to yielding more than the LCP and allowing the introduction of flexible printed circuit boards.
Kuo added that the two LCP antennas on the next iPhones will be provided exclusively by a Japanese company, thanks to their better integration capabilities. According to him, MPI and LCP antennas will still be used in several devices, since the composition and design of these materials are complex and defy the requirements of installation and transition to 5G in the United States.
More specifically, LCP is a flexible organic substrate that can be used as a dielectric product, which makes it desirable for producing antennas. It behaves consistently over the entire radio frequency range and has a very low loss.
For the average consumer, this possible change should not result in significant changes. As the analyst said, both materials are involved in the deployment of 5G technology and the MPI is growing by leaps and bounds in this direction – although LCP has offered more advantages in this area. Either way, it is likely that the first iPhones with support for 5G networks will only appear in 2020.