5G iPhone 12 Roll-out Plan for 2020 Detailed in New Note by Analyst Kuo


A new investor note by renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlines the 5G roll-out plans for 2020 iPhone models. The note claims that the number of 5G iPhone will account for 15 to 20% of total iPhone shipments in the second half of 2020. This is a surprisingly low figure as Apple is expected to announce 3 new iPhone 12 models with 5G networking technology in 2020, which should significantly increase the adoption.

As per the note obtained by 9to5mac, 5G iPhones will support both 5G mmWave and sub-6GHz bands, thanks to modems supplied by Qualcomm.

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We expect that the shipment allocation of iPhone models that support 5G mmWave will account for 15–20% of the total shipments of new 2H20 iPhone models. This will benefit LCP FPC usage a lot, given the 5G mmWave iPhone uses three LCP FPC units (vs. other iPhone models’ single LCP FPC unit).

The new iPhones will utilize LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) Antenna design, which was first introduced with iPhone X and iPhone 8. Apple is also expected to use LCP in Apple Watch Series 6iPhone SE 2, and iPad Pro 2. This will increase Apple's utilization of LCP across iPhones, especially since 5G requires three LCP FPC units, compared to one for 4G. The benefit of using LCP is that it provides fast networking performance at varying temperatures, with very little loss.

Despite the benefits, Apple has not yet used LCP FPC antenna in all iPhone models. Last year's iPhone XR and this year's iPhone 11 relied on older antenna tech. The primary reason for this is production, as current suppliers cannot meet the demand for an increase in product shipments with LCP. Apple is looking for more suppliers to ensure that they have a reliable supply of LCP for future products.

As per Kuo, iPhone models with LCP FPC will increase from 40-50% in 2019 to 70-75% in 2020 due to the fact that non-LCP iPhone shipments will decline or completely stop by the time iPhone 12 releases.

Now that the iPhone 11 is out, all eyes are now on iPhone 12. It is expected to ship with a new design with an all-metal frame, similar to iPhone 4 and iPad Pro. All three iPhone 12 models are rumored to include OLED screens, with 120Hz ProMotion technology. An A14 Bionic will power the new smartphones, as well as the upgraded triple-lens camera system with a time-of-flight sensor to support 3D sensing for augmented reality enhancements. The addition of 5G networking and USB-C would make the iPhone 12 a very compelling upgrade.