While Apple is busy selling this year's iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, the 2019 iPhone family is now rumoured to have a new combination of antenna technology to improve its bargaining power with component suppliers. The new combination is said to have Modified PI antennae as well as the existing LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) antenna technology. Among other changes, it could support 5G networks in future iPhone models. The 2019 iPhone range also recently came in the news for sporting an upgraded Face ID technology. It is also reported that the Cupertino giant is enabling a multi-hovering experience that would limit touch operations.
As per a report by 9to5Mac, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a note to investors predicted that Apple will reduce its reliance on the existing LCP antenna technology and make a shift towards a new combination of Modified PI (MPI) technology. Kuo reportedly highlighted in the note that the company is currently having "lower bargaining power" against LCP component suppliers than before and bringing new suppliers is difficult since it's a "complicated production process". He also specified that LCP is more "brittle" than alternatives. This brings issues with the yield rate and improving the existing yield rate could potentially lower the antenna's performance. The company could thus make a move towards a mix of LCP and MPI technologies in its next-generation iPhone models.
Kuo reportedly forecast that the 2019 iPhone models will include four MPI antennae and two LCP antennae. This is unlike the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR that all have six LCP antenna set. Further, it is said that there will be five MPI suppliers for the new iPhone models, while the LCP antennae for the next-generation iPhone range will be supplied "exclusive by the Japanese supplier thanks to its better vertical integration". Kuo also reportedly mentioned that both LCP and MPI will be involved in bringing 5G support. Traditionally, LCP is considered to provide advantages in areas such as consistent performance and low loss, whereas MPI is currently catching up in the mobile device market. To recall, earlier this month, a report claimed that Apple would launch its first 5G-enabled iPhone models in 2020, featuring an Intel modem.
Earlier this year, it was predicted that one of the 2019 iPhone models will come with a triple-lens camera setup - similar to the Huawei P20 Pro. The new camera system is said to have a six-piece lens structure with up to 5x optical zoom and one 12-megapixel sensor. The third lens on the model could enable 3x optical zoom - more than the 2x zoom available on the iPhone X and iPhone XS models. A separate report, citing industry sources, also claimed that Apple will bring a multi-hovering technology to its next iPhone models that will enable recognition of multi-touch inputs from a distance of 50mm. This could be a step ahead of the traditional touch inputs. Moreover, a Face ID upgrade is also expected to debut on the next-generation iPhone models, though they aren't likely to have an in-display fingerprint sensor technology that is becoming widely popular among Android handset manufacturers.