A tweak in design and new antenna suppliers could give Apple’s iPhones a boost in indoor coverage. A report released over the weekend by TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims the new iPhones will see “vast changes” in antenna structures, according to 9 to 5 Mac.
Apple is using a new modified-PI antenna structure for the latest line of iPhones, instead of the liquid crystal polymer (LCP) antenna technology that was used in the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, according to Kuo. The switch will help address some limitations in the LCP antennas, and will lower costs for Apple. 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.
Apple is also upgrading its 2019 iPhones with new ultra-wideband technology, to improve indoor coverage. Those upgrades will drive the total cost of antenna production for the 2019 iPhones up 10-20%, Kuo said.
Apple will also drop one of its suppliers, Career Technology, after reports surfaced that the company forced employees to resign in order to avoid paying severance to them. Career Technology produces flexible circuit boards for iPhone antennas. It and other Apple suppliers have experienced a wave of lay-offs amid a downturn in iPhone sales.