2019 iPhone will switch to antenna MPI to ensure process reliability
Ming-Chi Kuo of TF Securities reiterates that the next-generation iPhone, due out in the second half of 2019, at least partly go to the modified polyamide of the antenna instead of liquid-crystalline polymers, which have been in the iPhone XS iPhone XS iPhone Max and XR. This prediction was first made in November 2018.
The iPhone XS iPhone XS iPhone Max and XR are the two top antenna and the bottom antenna, they are all made of LCP. They say that the predicted iPhone 2019 will use one unit of MPI and LCP for the upper antenna and three build MPI for the lower antenna.
A note from Kuo also applies to the selection of a supplier. Murata supplies the current blocks of the LCP and will continue to deliver the antenna to the LCP used in the upper antenna. They will be joined Avary / AFR and Flexium, whose orders are 50/50 for top of MPI, and Avary / ZDT will share the orders with the division from 65% to 35% with DSBJ.
Among the claimed benefits of switching to the technology of MPI — add an increasing number of providers of antennas for the coordination of the levers compared to the LCP material suppliers for sourcing components, more reliable production process and facilitation of new iterations of the technology of flexible printed circuit boards (FPCB) for a more flexible technology.
These changes can affect the price. Kuo argues that the iPhone shipments in 2019 will be approximately the same as last year, the dollar content of the new antennas will increase by 10-20%. The upper antenna is more expensive than the lower, although MPI is more affordable due to the more complex structures of the upper antenna.
Kuo also looks forward to forecast about the update of the flagship iPhone 5G in 2020. He predicts that the LCP will remain the main material used for the antennas, 5G, after the solution of production problems, and that Avary / ZDT, Flexium and DSBJ will supply these details. Reading between the lines, it seems that MPI will be used for model 2019 with a return to LCP for 2020 as soon as those suppliers are able to improve production and to develop materials that are suitable for 5G.
Liquid crystal polymer (LCP) is an inexpensive organic substrate is flexible and has some unique electrical properties that make it desirable for the antenna. It behaves consistently across the range of radio frequencies, has a very low loss, making it useful for mmWave (Annex 5G), and has a low coefficient of thermal expansion, making it stable at different temperatures. These design qualities make it suitable for a wide range of applications, from RFID labels to the phones.
Compared to traditional materials such as polyimide, LCP offers a number of operational advantages, including superior attenuation frequency, thermal characteristics and moisture resistance. LCP can be used in other aspects of the design, and can be adapted to the specifications of USB 4.
It is expected that the update Apple from Apple in 2019 will include the improved camera, as the ultra-wide lens and an improved 12-megapixel front facing camera. As for the display, Kuo believes that Apple will push OLED technology for the 5.8— and 6.5-inch versions, while the other, namely, Mac Otakara, predict the transition to OLED for a 6.1-inch model.
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