Last week, Fast Company reported that Apple might not be including 5G support among the iPhone’s features until 2020. However, the latest research note from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that the tech giant could be making the first steps toward supporting the new connectivity standard with its 2019 iPhones.
In a report published Saturday morning, 9to5Mac cited Kuo’s note, which suggests that Apple could be making a switch from liquid crystal polymer (LCP) technology for the iPhone’s antennas and transitioning to a mix of LCP and modified polymide (MPI) technology. Kuo explained that Apple is, for one, considering making this change for business reasons, as the company supposedly has “lower bargaining power” against LCP suppliers. The analyst added that introducing new suppliers for this antenna technology is more difficult because the production process is too “complicated.”
Aside from the aforementioned business-related factors, Kuo stressed that LCP antenna performance could be compromised if suppliers increase their yield rates, as the technology is more “brittle” than other options. Moving on to MPI, Kuo said that antennas based on this alternative technology could perform as well as LCP antennae due to an “improved fluoride formula.”
“In total, six LCP antennae are currently being equipped in [second half 2018] new iPhone models (XS Max, XS, and XR),” Kuo wrote, as quoted by AppleInsider.
“We predict that  new iPhone models, including the new 6.5-inch OLED, 5.8-inch OLED, and 6.1-inch LCD models, will adopt four MPI antennae and two LCP antennae.”
— 9to5Mac.com (@9to5mac) November 10, 2018
While the shift from a pure LCP setup to a blended LCP/MPI setup might not mean much to most consumers, as 9to5Mac suggested, the publication noted that Kuo expects both forms of technology to be instrumental as Apple moves toward introducing 5G connectivity to the iPhone. It was also noted that MPI seems to be “catching up” with LCP in terms of providing smoother antenna performance.
Kuo’s research note detailing the expected antenna changes is the second in just as many weeks where he hinted at some of the 2019 iPhones’ likely features. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Kuo wrote last week that Apple will be improving the Face ID technology on next year’s iPhones by adding a flood illuminator that could reduce the effect of external light. This could allow Face ID to perform better in brighter settings, thereby resolving one of the issues the facial recognition system had had since it was first introduced on last year’s iPhone X.