news 3 days ago

Apple may design its own 5G antenna for the iPhone 12

BGR — Yoni Heisler

The saga involving Apple’s iPhone 12 and its support for 5G has been interesting, to say the least. For a while, there were even rumors that the iPhone 12 might not ship with 5G on account of Apple’s fierce patent and royalty dispute with Qualcomm. Ultimately, though, Apple realized that Qualcomm’s 5G offering was best in class, a realization that prompted Apple to reach a settlement agreement with Qualcomm in April of last year.

In light of that, a new report from Fast Company relays that Apple is working on its own antenna design after concluding that Qualcomm’s QTM 525 millimeter-wave antenna “doesn’t fit into the sleek industrial design Apple wants for the new phone.”

Per usual, nothing is set in stone just yet and the report notes that Apple may be forced to use Qualcomm’s antenna module if its own efforts fall short.

Notably, previous reports have indicated that the iPhone 12 hasn’t reached the DVT phase of development yet, which is to say the company hasn’t yet finalized the device’s feature set.

The report adds that designing a 5G antenna poses a fair number of technical challenges. Compounding matters, of course, is that Apple has had a handful of missteps in the realm of antenna design over the past few years, with the iPhone 4 antenna design being the most well-known example.

Interestingly enough, the report adds that Apple is keen on using own antenna design as a way to lessen its overall reliance on Qualcomm.

Apple is stuck with Qualcomm for now, but it’s no secret that the company eventually wants to kick Qualcomm to the curb and utilize an in-house 5G modem design. To this end, recall that Apple last summer acquired the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business.

On a related note, we’ve seen reports indicating that Apple has accelerated its 5G chip development in recent months. In turn, there have been rumblings that Apple is hoping to have a 5G alternative to Qualcomm as soon as 2021.

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