Apple plans to use modified-PI (MPI) material for antennas in 2019 iPhones, as well as in the new iPad Pros expected to launch in late 2019 or in early 2020 rather than the liquid crystal polymer (LCP) material, which it used for making antennas for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR antennas, famous analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed. According to him (via MacRumors), LCP limits the RF performance of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR antennas because of current technology limitations and production issues.
This is not the first time that Kuo has made this prediction. In December last year, he outlined several reasons for Apple to make this change. Firstly, he said that Apple reportedly had “lower bargaining power” against LCP material suppliers and that it was also difficult to introduce additional LCP suppliers because of the “complicated production process” of the material. Secondly, LCP is more “brittle” than its alternatives and, hence, has issues with yield rate.
As mentioned about the limitations, improving the yield rate could potentially lower the antenna’s performance. Hence, Modified PI antenna’s performance “can be as good as LCP” because of the improved fluoride formula. He also said that the 2019 iPhone models would adopt four MPI antennae and two LCP antennae, and expects that LCP will still be the primary material for 5G antennas in 2020 iPhones.
In a separate research note last month, which has reportedly been seen by Taiwanese media so far, Kuo said that two new iPad Pro models “with the same 11-inch and 12.9-inch display sizes as the current models will enter mass production between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.” He reportedly claims that those new iPad Pro models will feature flexible circuit boards using LCP. Kuo had also predicted that Apple might also launch a 10 to 12-inch screen iPad in late 2020 or early 2021.