Apple Designing 5G iPhone Antenna Module In-House After Being Dissatisfied With Qualcomm's Version

Apple is designing the antenna module that will be used in its 5G iPhones in-house because it was unhappy with the version that Qualcomm designed, reports Fast Company, citing a source with knowledge of Apple's plans.

Apple reportedly "balked" at the design of the QTM 525 5G millimeter-wave antenna module offered by Qualcomm because it "doesn't fit into the sleek industrial design Apple wants for the new phone."

fouriphones2020
Qualcomm will still provide the 5G modem chip used in the new iPhones, but the antenna module will be developed by Apple.

Apple is, however, working on another design that uses both the Qualcomm modem and the Qualcomm antenna as a backup, so Apple does have the option to swap over to a version of the iPhone that uses both Qualcomm components, but if forced to do so, Apple will need to release a slightly thicker ‌iPhone‌.

As Fast Company points out, Apple has run into problems with antennas designed in-house before. The ‌iPhone‌ 4, for example, had an antenna design that resulted in dropped calls and other problems when the ‌iPhone‌ was held in a way that covered the antennas. Fast Company's source says that another recent Apple antenna design "required twice as much power as comparable antennas to produce the same amount of radio signal."

Creating 5G antennas for mmWave networks is harder than creating other kinds of antennas because they send and receive higher frequency signals, leaving less room for error. 5G performance is also reliant on the antenna design.

The 2020 iPhones equipped with 5G will use a "phased array" antenna with two parts that work together to form a beam of radio signal, as described by Fast Company, which could lead to issues if the antenna and modem module are made by different companies.

The beam can be electronically steered in different directions without the antenna moving. The modem chip and the antenna module work closely together to make this work properly, our source said. Having the two parts made by different companies may introduce some uncertainty and bump up the difficulty level of the overall design.

Apple reportedly wants to use its own antennas both because of design reasons and because Apple wants as few Qualcomm parts in the ‌iPhone‌ as possible. Fast Company's source suggests that Apple continues to feel it is "getting screwed on royalties" by Qualcomm.

Rumors have suggested that Apple is working on developing its own modem chips for use in future iPhones, but that technology is not ready yet, and until it is, Apple is reliant on Qualcomm's 5G modem chips. Apple purchased Intel's modem chip business after Intel exited the mobile modem chip development market, which could speed up Apple's work on developing its own chip technology.

qualcommx55
Apple is expected to release multiple 5G capable iPhones in 2020 that are equipped with Qualcomm's X55 5G modem chip that offers 7Gb/s peak download speeds and 3Gb/s upload speeds. For more on what to expect in the 2020 iPhones, make sure to check out our roundup.

Related Forum: iOS 12

Top Rated Comments

kennyt72 Avatar
47 months ago

Fast Company's source suggests that Apple continues to feel it is "getting screwed on royalties" by Qualcomm.
Just like Apple tries to screw every last penny out of their customers, it's horrible when the shoes on the other foot ?
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WannaGoMac Avatar
47 months ago

Makes me a little nervous--if this is the first of the Apple designs, we're sort of guinea pigs this cycle.
Agreed. The old saying, never buy a first gen apple product!
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Glockworkorange Avatar
47 months ago
Makes me a little nervous--if this is the first of the Apple designs, we're sort of guinea pigs this cycle.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NickName99 Avatar
47 months ago
Funny that people are still whining about the 2010 iPhone 4 antenna design. A decade isn’t long enough to get over it? How long does it take? 15 years? 20 years? ?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rudi T Avatar
47 months ago
Hope they end up using bigger antenna and have to fill extra room in bigger phone with more battery :cool:
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
satchmo Avatar
47 months ago
Good. It's never too early to move dependency away from Qualcomm.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone se 4 modified flag edges

iPhone SE 4 Details: Action Button, USB-C Port, Face ID, and More

Wednesday September 27, 2023 1:34 pm PDT by
Significant changes are expected to arrive with Apple's fourth-generation iPhone SE, in terms of both design and hardware, MacRumors has learned. The iPhone SE 4, known internally under the codename Ghost, is expected to receive a new design derived almost entirely from the base model iPhone 14. According to our sources, the iPhone SE 4 will use a modified version of the iPhone 14 chassis...
Multi Display CarPlay 1

All-New Apple CarPlay Launching Later This Year With These 5 New Features

Friday September 29, 2023 11:29 am PDT by
At WWDC 2022 last year, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple said the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience would be announced in late 2023, but it has still not shared any additional...
iOS 17

Everything New in iOS 17.1 Beta 1

Wednesday September 27, 2023 1:57 pm PDT by
Just a week after releasing iOS 17, Apple has seeded the first beta of iOS 17.1 to developers. iOS 17.1 adds some features that Apple promised were coming to iOS 17 in the future, plus it refines and improves some existing features. This guide covers everything new in the first iOS 17.1 beta. Apple Music Favorites You can favorite songs, albums, playlists, and artists in the iOS 17.1...
iPhone 15 Pro lineup

iPhone 15 Pro Overheating Concerns Highlighted in Two More Reports

Thursday September 28, 2023 6:25 am PDT by
iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max overheating concerns continue to make headlines this week, with the topic highlighted by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. Both of the reports document anecdotal complaints from customers, and outline potential causes, but it's unclear how many devices are actually affected. Bloomberg said the overheating could be caused or compounded by the iPhone's setup...
iPhone 15 Pro lineup

Apple to Address iPhone 15 Pro Overheating Issue With iOS 17 Update

Saturday September 30, 2023 9:28 am PDT by
Apple plans to release an iOS 17 update to address a bug that may contribute to the reported iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max overheating issue, according to a statement the company shared today with MacRumors and Forbes reporter David Phelan. Apple also says some recent updates to third-party apps have overloaded the system and contributed to the overheating issue. The report notes that...
iPhone 15 USB C Port Keynote

Some USB-C Power Banks Fail to Work With iPhone 15

Thursday September 28, 2023 2:06 pm PDT by
Apple added a USB-C port to the iPhone 15 lineup this year, allowing it to work with USB-C cables, USB-C power banks, and more. It turns out that some USB-C battery packs are not working properly with Apple's iPhone 15, resulting in charging issues. As highlighted on Reddit and the MacRumors forums, not all existing USB-C power banks can be used with the iPhone 15 models, perhaps due to the...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.0.2 and iPadOS 17.0.2 for All iPhones and iPads

Tuesday September 26, 2023 12:47 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.0.2 and iPadOS 17.0.2 updates, with the software coming five days after the releases of iOS 17.0.1 and iPadOS 17.0.1. Today's iOS 17.0.2 and iPadOS 17.0.2 updates arrive as build 21A351 and can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. Note that iOS 17.0.2 was previously made available for iPhone...