As per a new supply chain report, Apple is placing a large order for millimeter wave 5G antennas for iPhone 13, which indicates that the company might be planning to expand the availability of mmWave 5G support to more countries later this year. iPhone 12 had launched with mmWave 5G support, but only for the United States.
The report comes via Patently Apple from its supply chain sources in Taiwan. A supplier of millimeter wave antennas, Qiqi, has become part of iPhone’s supplier list and joins Murata Manufacturing Co. of Japan. The report also mentions that Apple is working with telecom companies around the world to prepare for the expansion of mmWave availability so that the new iPhone 13 models can work with the faster 5G variant.
iPhone 13 models will support mmWave 5G in more countries in 2021
While the report does not go into details of which countries would be next on the list to get support for mmWave 5G. At the time of writing, many countries such as China, Australia, Singapore, and more are working on adopting the faster 5G variant.
The difference between sub-6GHz 5G and mmWave 5G is that the former supports speeds that are faster than 4G/LTE but not significantly. It provides better latency and longer range. On the other hand, mmWave 5G provides the ideal next-generation experience with higher speeds and minimum latency, but it covers shorter ranges and requires base stations to be set up in various venues to provide support.
The primary reason that Apple did not include mmWave 5G in all iPhone 12 models was that not only do they cost more at the moment, but the support is also limited to the United States only, where multiple carriers support mmWave.
Patently Apple reports that Qiqi’s chairman spoke at a conference recently where he said that 5G product shipments are expected to increase this year compared to 2020, hinting at a larger order.
Qiqi’s chairman Xie Hongbo, who was once the CEO of Wistron’s NeWeb Corporation, announced at the law conference a few days ago that 5G-related product shipments will increase significantly this year, especially the US market where millimeter wave-related antennas are being used. It is optimistic that the revenue from 5G will account for a larger proportion of this year than in 2020. Two to three times increase, vaguely revealing that a large order is approaching.
Apple is also planning on launching a new iPad Pro model this year with 5G support. We expect it to also feature mmWave 5G support in the United States.