Apple is said to have "opposed" the design of the QTM 525 5G 5T millimeter wave antenna module offered by Qualcomm because "it does not fit into the slim industrial design that Apple wants for the new phone".
Qualcomm will continue to provide the 5G modem chip used in the new iPhones, but the antenna module will be developed by Apple.
However, Apple is working on a different design that uses both the Qualcomm modem and the Qualcomm antenna as a backup. Apple has the option to switch to a version of the iPhone that uses both Qualcomm components, but if this is enforced, Apple has to publish a slightly thicker "iPhone".
As Fast Company points out, Apple has problems with antennas that were previously developed in-house. For example, the iPhone 4 had an antenna design that resulted in interrupted calls and other problems when the iPhone was held to cover the antennas. The Fast Company source states that another current Apple antenna design "uses twice as much power as comparable antennas to generate the same amount of radio signal".
Building 5G antennas for mmWave networks is more difficult than building other types of antennas because they send and receive signals at a higher frequency and leave less room for errors. The performance of 5G also depends on the antenna design.
The 5G-equipped 2020 iPhones use a "phased array" antenna with two parts that together form a radio signal beam as described by Fast Company which can cause problems if the antenna and Modem modules are manufactured by various companies.
The beam can be electronically controlled in different directions without the antenna moving. The modem chip and antenna module work closely together to make this work properly, our source says. If the two parts are manufactured by different companies, this can lead to uncertainties and increase the degree of difficulty of the overall design.
Reports indicate that Apple wants to use its own antennas, both for design reasons and because Apple wants to have as few Qualcomm parts in the "iPhone" as possible. The Fast Company source suggests that Apple continues to feel that Qualcomm is "turning license fees upside down."
Rumors say that Apple is developing its own modem chips for future iPhones, but the technology is not yet ready. Until then, Apple is dependent on Qualcomm's 5G modem chips. Apple bought Intel's modem chip business after Intel left the mobile modem chip development market, which could accelerate Apple's work on developing its own chip technology.
Apple is expected to release several 5G-enabled iPhones in 2020, equipped with Qualcomm's X55 5G modem chip, which has maximum download speeds of 7 Gbps and upload speeds of 3 Gbps. s offers. You can find more information about the iPhones for 2020 in our summary.