A few days ago, it has been continuously reported that the 5G custom antenna that Apple is developing in cooperation with Qualcomm may not be going well, and it is seeking more antenna designs, materials, and component supply channels, and re-determining who will provide key products.
From foreign media sources, a report Friday afternoon indicated that there is still a lot of work to be done to determine who will supply the power amplifier and how it will be delivered. Apple doesn’t appear to be too happy with Qualcomm’s QTM 525 mmWave antenna module design, which includes the power amplifier and Qualcomm’s X55 modem, as it conflicts with Apple’s original design, the sources said.
Reports late Friday suggested that Apple may be working on its own antenna that differs from the QTM 525.
Apple signed a 5G deal with Qualcomm in 2019, which provided Apple with the technology and licenses to bridge the antennas to the modems, as well as all patent licenses in between.
However, the revelations further stated that there is a certain degree of “gap” between Apple and Qualcomm. The report cites sources as saying that despite the compromising deal, Apple still feels like a business “trafficked by royalties” and is trying to reduce the use of Qualcomm parts in new devices (the iPhone 12) to least.
The situation was complicated by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s report, who said that the supply of the power amplifiers included in the antennas remains unstable: “The order allocation for the iPhone 5G PA (power amplifier) has not yet been determined.”
The analyst initially believed that Broadcom and Avago would be responsible for designing the iPhone 5G antenna, with Win Semi supplying the power amplifier circuits associated with the antenna system. However, Kuo later revised that forecast, saying on Friday that Qorvo and Skyworks could replace Broadcom as the iPhone 5G power amplifier supplier, and that Broadcom would only focus on supplying the mid-to-high-end power amplifiers found in flagship models in the fall of 2020.
Although the focus and forecast direction of multiple reports are different, different reports seem to point to the same point, that the internal and external design of the 5G iPhone antenna module has not yet been determined.