We’ll see if you’re holding it wrong this time.
Despite a notorious track record in antenna design — remember the whole “Antennagate” thing? — Apple has reportedly decided to design the antenna for this year’s iPhones, the first models to support 5G technology.
Qualcomm will provide the 5G modem chip for the 2020 iPhones, namely the Snapdragon X55, which is also used in the Samsung Galaxy S20. But when Qualcomm offered the QTM 525 millimeter-wave antenna module, Apple decided to pass — because it reportedly does not fit the “sleek industrial design” the company wants for the 2020 iPhones, Fast Company reported, citing a source with knowledge of the matter.
Apple usually prepares several designs for its products, and according to the report, it is still working on one that uses Qualcomm’s antenna. The source said it is still possible for Apple to go with this option, which will mean a slightly thicker iPhone than the company wants. Apple will likely have to make a final decision this summer.
Apple has not found success designing its own antennas, notably the dropped calls problem of the iPhone 4 that led to the Antennagate issue. It is also more difficult to design an antenna for 5G devices, according to Fast Company’s source. The 2020 models will be Apple’s first 5G iPhones, and the company has no room for error.
In December, Qualcomm said that its top priority was to assist Apple with launching a 5G iPhone and that it was working “as fast as it can” as the two companies were fresh off a settlement to a long-and-drawn-out legal battle over royalty payments.
Shortly afterward, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed Apple was working on a way to secure savings elsewhere in the 2020 iPhone to offset the cost of more expensive, new components, in order to maintain its price. Kuo also mentioned that the 5G iPhone will bring back the design of the iPhone 4 with a metal frame.
It remains unclear if Apple will be able to keep pace with the development of the 5G iPhone and maintain its cost now that the company is designing the antenna for the device. It will be a while before Apple provides official confirmation though; the 2020 iPhones are not expected to be unveiled until September.