Rumor | Apple to develop its own 5G hardware in-house
Rumors have been swirling that Apple will release a 5G-capable iPhone in the fall of 2020, but a new claim throws the hardware to be used into question. Citing sources “with knowledge of Apple’s plans,” Fast Company claims that Apple will develop its own 5G antenna for the 2020 iPhone.
According to the source, Apple is not too happy with the Qualcomm QTM 525 millimeter-wave antenna module used in the Snapdragon X55 5G modem. The source says that Apple will opt for the X55 but will build its own 5G antenna to better conform to the iPhone’s design language.
This could present several difficulties for Apple. Those who remember the iPhone 4’s “Antennagate” debacle know one of the challenges facing the 2020 iPhone. Additionally, the narrow wavelengths used by 5G make designing a 5G antenna much harder than slower connections.
However, the source claims that Apple will use a “phased array” antenna that can steer incoming 5G signal through beam-forming technology. The iPhone 11 family introduced an Ultra Wideband radio that increases the accuracy of data transmission. Currently, the UWB radio is used for more precise Airdrops and file transfers between iPhones, but the same technology could potentially help bolster a 5G antenna’s ability to receive and pinpoint incoming signals.
While this is still a rumor and should be taken with a grain of salt, it is believable that Apple would want to build its own 5G antenna. After all, it’s widely speculated that Apple is using the resources it gained in its acquisition of Intel’s modem business to develop its own 5G modem. Apple is not a company known for happily paying royalties and fees to other manufacturers for the use of their hardware. It’s likely that Apple will soon have an iPhone that uses 5G hardware made entirely in-house by the Cupertino colossus.