Digitimes reports that Apple is bringing on more suppliers of 5G components as it ramps iPhone 13 production. Apple is apparently now working with five separate suppliers for Antenna-in-Package components.
Apple needs to expand its supplier list because it will be using more 5G parts this time around, compared to the iPhone 12 release cycle.
The iPhone 12 was the first iPhone to support 5G speeds, both sub-6GHz and mmWave. mmWave enables superfast multi-gigabit speeds in select areas, however it is only available in select areas and only works outdoors. sub-6GHz coverage is much more pervasive, approximately delivering speeds about 2-5x faster than 4G.
mmWave 5G is impressive when you can get it. And for the iPhone 12, this technology was only available to Apple’s customers in the United States. US iPhone 12 models featured a special antenna window to enable the mmWave support, with Verizon as a key launch partner.
One of the reasons Apple did this was because carrier coverage for 5G mmWave was meaningfully deployed in the US last year, not so much overseas. Another issue is production cost and complexity. Digitimes says that each mmWave iPhone requires four antenna-in-package models, hence Apple’s need to bring on additional supply capacity for these parts.
As rumored before, the iPhone 13 will feature mmWave support in more regions, expanding beyond the US. In this latest report, Digitimes says mmWave models will make up as much as 60% of all iPhone 13 units.