Apple to adopt speedy LCP circuit board tech across major product lines in 2018

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2017
With this year's iPhone revisions, Apple introduced a new breed of flexible circuit board crafted from liquid crystal polymer, a material that benefits high-speed, low-latency data transfer. Currently used in iPhone 8 and iPhone X LTE antennas, and the latter's TrueDepth camera, the technology is expected to make its way to other product lines next year.


iPhone X TrueDepth array. | Source: iFixit


In a note to investors seen by AppleInsider, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple is working with partner suppliers to integrate LCP FPCB hardware across its major device lineups including iPad, Mac and Apple Watch.

Specifically, Kuo predicts Apple is already working with FPCB manufacturer Career on designs for MacBook that will not only save space, but improve internal data transmission capabilities. For example, LCP is a likely candidate to enable a smooth transition to USB 3.2 and next-generation Thunderbolt specifications, both likely to require high-speed data transmission thresholds.

Additionally, Career is also thought to be working on new Apple Watch LTE antenna designs that integrate LCP as a base material. Watch's existing cellular antennas, also made by Career, are built on polyamide FPCBs.

Compared to legacy materials like PI, LCP offers a number of operational advantages including superior frequency attenuation, thermal performance and moisture resistance. The substrate's assets tick off the right boxes for Apple, which year after year pumps out a set of increasingly complex portable products that rely heavily on fast, capable data lanes.

"LCP FPCB production presents a greater challenge compared to PI, as the former needs to be more particular as regards material stability, higher-temperature process, impedance control and higher standards of etching process," Kuo writes.

As for iPhone, Kuo in a November note said he expects Apple to integrate at least two LCP LTE antenna modules per device, if not more, to take advantage of cutting-edge transmission standards like 4x4 MIMO.

Kuo sees wider adoption of LCP FPCB technology picking up in lockstep with Apple's move toward the material in 2018. Given their experience with LCP processes, Career and Murata are well positioned to become key players in the new trend and should hold their place as industry front runners until at least 2019, Kuo says.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,654member
    But Apple can’t innovate anymore.
    RacerhomieXLordeHawktmay
  • Reply 2 of 16
    This article would be more useful if more of the abbreviations were spelled out.
    caladanianbaconstangAvieshekphilboogie
  • Reply 3 of 16
    luxuriant said:
    This article would be more useful if more of the abbreviations were spelled out.
    I suspect that the author would spell them out if the he knew what they meant.
    dysamoriaAvieshekphilboogieksecGeorgeBMactmay
  • Reply 4 of 16
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,550member
    lkrupp said:
    But Apple can’t innovate anymore.
    How is this 'innovation"? Doing a quick search for "LCP circuit boards" on DDG, I saw articles that go back to 2002. Is it really "innovation" to pick a somewhat different material for a common component, one that was invented by other people and has been on the market for over a decade?
    seanismorrisbaconstangAvieshek
  • Reply 5 of 16
    luxuriant said:
    This article would be more useful if more of the abbreviations were spelled out.
    You mean acronyms, not abbreviations.

    Flexible Printed Circuit Boards: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexible_electronics

    Dear AppleInsider:

    use blockquote.div child node relationships in CSS.

    blockquote [default no class Quote]

    /* css */
    /* blockquote.div: nth-child(1) {} // QuoteAuthor */
    /* blockquote.div: nth-child(2) {} // QuoteText */
    /* end css */

    edited December 2017 jony0Avieshekphilboogiejackmiracle
  • Reply 6 of 16
    SoliSoli Posts: 6,202member
    dysamoria said:
    lkrupp said:
    But Apple can’t innovate anymore.
    How is this 'innovation"? Doing a quick search for "LCP circuit boards" on DDG, I saw articles that go back to 2002. Is it really "innovation" to pick a somewhat different material for a common component, one that was invented by other people and has been on the market for over a decade?
    Absolutely. Most technologies take a very long time between discovery, testing, nascent commercial use at exhorting costs with minimal applications, and then finally the massive scale that a company like Apple needs to support their customer base.

    For example, sapphire crystal occurs naturally, but according to your comment there's nothing innovative about growing it in a lab since it's existed for eons, and nothing innovative about growing at a scale that would be able to support hundreds of millions of Apple devices in a given year, yet completing each of these steps are major innovations for something that never existed previously, with the latter in this example still not something that has been mastered.

    Making the proverbial "better mousetrap" isn't a lack of innovation simply because mousetraps already exist.
    edited December 2017 netmagepatchythepiratewelshdog
  • Reply 8 of 16
    ksecksec Posts: 1,480member
    I vaguely remember Samsung tested and tried with LCP, but I think, Apple is the first company to use LCP at this scale. And it is likely Apple has been investing and testing this for quite some time.

    luxuriant said:
    This article would be more useful if more of the abbreviations were spelled out.
    I suspect that the author would spell them out if the he knew what they meant.
    Well yes, since it has nothing to do with USB 3.2 and Next Gen Thunderbolt ( If there is such a thing )
  • Reply 9 of 16
    dysamoria said:
    lkrupp said:
    But Apple can’t innovate anymore.
    How is this 'innovation"? Doing a quick search for "LCP circuit boards" on DDG, I saw articles that go back to 2002. Is it really "innovation" to pick a somewhat different material for a common component, one that was invented by other people and has been on the market for over a decade?
    Of course this isn't. This is KuoMingChuo ("The guy that writes reports on Sunday morning") fuss, as instructed from Cupertino, to withdraw attention from all the negative upgrade hassle that they exposed billions of customers to. Any positive news is suitable. Whether on circuit baords, connectors, or new cardboard boxes for iPhone whatever.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,167member
    dysamoria said:
    lkrupp said:
    But Apple can’t innovate anymore.
    How is this 'innovation"? Doing a quick search for "LCP circuit boards" on DDG, I saw articles that go back to 2002. Is it really "innovation" to pick a somewhat different material for a common component, one that was invented by other people and has been on the market for over a decade?
    Absolutely is innovation. Innovation occurs wherever invention and/or discovery is used to deliver practical/consumable value. It doesn't matter how old the original invention or discovery is. The semiconductor effect was first documented by Michael Faraday in 1833 and derivatives of this discovery still express themselves in Apple's latest innovative-as-hell A11 Bionic chip.  
    Soliwelshdog
  • Reply 11 of 16
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,372member
    Bacillus3 said:
    dysamoria said:
    lkrupp said:
    But Apple can’t innovate anymore.
    How is this 'innovation"? Doing a quick search for "LCP circuit boards" on DDG, I saw articles that go back to 2002. Is it really "innovation" to pick a somewhat different material for a common component, one that was invented by other people and has been on the market for over a decade?
    Of course this isn't. This is KuoMingChuo ("The guy that writes reports on Sunday morning") fuss, as instructed from Cupertino, to withdraw attention from all the negative upgrade hassle that they exposed billions of customers to. Any positive news is suitable. Whether on circuit baords, connectors, or new cardboard boxes for iPhone whatever.
    Another bit of blah blah blah from you then. I'm super critical of Kuo (check my history), but for once it is something interesting from him (may for once be "well connected" (sic) not just as joke).
  • Reply 12 of 16
    anomeanome Posts: 872member
    luxuriant said:
    This article would be more useful if more of the abbreviations were spelled out.
    You mean acronyms, not abbreviations.

    Flexible Printed Circuit Boards: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexible_electronics

    Nope, he means abbreviations. An acronym is a word made from the first letters of other words. (The "nym" comes from the Greek for "word" which gives us the words "name", "pseudonym", "eponym", and so on.) So basically, if you say "Eff Pee See Bee" it's not an acronym, it's an abbreviation. If you say something similar to "FiPCuB" you could make a case for it, but I doubt it will catch on.

    In common usage, "acronym" has come to mean any collection of letters that stands for something else, but you corrected someone using "abbreviation" which is technically more correct than "acronym" in this context.

    Yes, this is just arguing semantics, but I will point out that you started it..

    welshdog
  • Reply 13 of 16
    SoliSoli Posts: 6,202member
    anome said:
    luxuriant said:
    This article would be more useful if more of the abbreviations were spelled out.
    You mean acronyms, not abbreviations.

    Flexible Printed Circuit Boards: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexible_electronics

    Nope, he means abbreviations. An acronym is a word made from the first letters of other words. (The "nym" comes from the Greek for "word" which gives us the words "name", "pseudonym", "eponym", and so on.) So basically, if you say "Eff Pee See Bee" it's not an acronym, it's an abbreviation. If you say something similar to "FiPCuB" you could make a case for it, but I doubt it will catch on.

    In common usage, "acronym" has come to mean any collection of letters that stands for something else, but you corrected someone using "abbreviation" which is technically more correct than "acronym" in this context.

    Yes, this is just arguing semantics, but I will point out that you started it..

    I find your statement confusing read and it seems like you may be ignoring a few things. For example, that all acronyms (AWOL, OPEC, LASER) are abbreviations.

    It also seems to ignore that initialisms (DVD, CIA, FYI), which are also abbreviations, is a commonly used to better differentiate between it and an acronym.

    It also seems to suggest that it has to be the first letter of other words, when there is no such rule (Postscript, radio detection and ranging).; it's just how it happens to be most of the time. They can even skip words in an acronym (Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation) or initialism (FUD) or use multiple letters from its words (DNA), if they so desire. This is language we're talking about.

    The other type of abbrev. by which all of these fall under as a general rule, is already used once in this very sentence.

    Then you have others that were initialisms that have become acronyms, like LOL. Now you may say "laugh out load" when you read it, but others may just read the letters, and others used to LOLcats/lolzats or lolz/lulz my read it as a word. Many initialisms have moved to acronyms that people could speak because it was more convenient, and at least a large handful of them are acronyms that people know as words without any indication that of their zymology. SNAFU and RADAR come to mind. I think you'll be hard pressed to find a dictionary or writing book that saying those two words need to be in all caps and with periods between each letter.


    PS: Did you know that acronyms are a 20th century phenomenon. Thanks to war and communication advancements we massively increased the structure of our lexicon and the number of words it had. It's also likely to evolve even more based on our history, so it's probably best if we're all prepared to radical changes in language throughout our lives or you'll end up like these emoji ߤ찟䐰勞.


    tl;dr: All acronyms and initialisms are subsets of the abbreviation. There's no wrong way to create an abbreviation, but your ultimate goal should to increase communication, no lessen it.
    edited December 2017 krawall
  • Reply 14 of 16
    dysamoria said:
    lkrupp said:
    But Apple can’t innovate anymore.
    How is this 'innovation"? Doing a quick search for "LCP circuit boards" on DDG, I saw articles that go back to 2002. Is it really "innovation" to pick a somewhat different material for a common component, one that was invented by other people and has been on the market for over a decade?
    You mean like Gorilla glass that no one used before Apple??
  • Reply 15 of 16
    anomeanome Posts: 872member
    Soli said:
    anome said:
    luxuriant said:
    This article would be more useful if more of the abbreviations were spelled out.
    You mean acronyms, not abbreviations.

    Flexible Printed Circuit Boards: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexible_electronics

    Nope, he means abbreviations. An acronym is a word made from the first letters of other words. (The "nym" comes from the Greek for "word" which gives us the words "name", "pseudonym", "eponym", and so on.) So basically, if you say "Eff Pee See Bee" it's not an acronym, it's an abbreviation. If you say something similar to "FiPCuB" you could make a case for it, but I doubt it will catch on.

    In common usage, "acronym" has come to mean any collection of letters that stands for something else, but you corrected someone using "abbreviation" which is technically more correct than "acronym" in this context.

    Yes, this is just arguing semantics, but I will point out that you started it..

    I find your statement confusing read and it seems like you may be ignoring a few things. For example, that all acronyms (AWOL, OPEC, LASER) are abbreviations.

    It also seems to ignore that initialisms (DVD, CIA, FYI), which are also abbreviations, is a commonly used to better differentiate between it and an acronym.

    It also seems to suggest that it has to be the first letter of other words, when there is no such rule (Postscript, radio detection and ranging).; it's just how it happens to be most of the time. They can even skip words in an acronym (Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation) or initialism (FUD) or use multiple letters from its words (DNA), if they so desire. This is language we're talking about.

    The other type of abbrev. by which all of these fall under as a general rule, is already used once in this very sentence.

    Then you have others that were initialisms that have become acronyms, like LOL. Now you may say "laugh out load" when you read it, but others may just read the letters, and others used to LOLcats/lolzats or lolz/lulz my read it as a word. Many initialisms have moved to acronyms that people could speak because it was more convenient, and at least a large handful of them are acronyms that people know as words without any indication that of their zymology. SNAFU and RADAR come to mind. I think you'll be hard pressed to find a dictionary or writing book that saying those two words need to be in all caps and with periods between each letter.


    PS: Did you know that acronyms are a 20th century phenomenon. Thanks to war and communication advancements we massively increased the structure of our lexicon and the number of words it had. It's also likely to evolve even more based on our history, so it's probably best if we're all prepared to radical changes in language throughout our lives or you'll end up like these emoji ߤ찟䐰勞.


    tl;dr: All acronyms and initialisms are subsets of the abbreviation. There's no wrong way to create an abbreviation, but your ultimate goal should to increase communication, no lessen it.
    I apologise if I was unclear. My point was that mdriftmeyer was wrong to correct luxuriant, since he wasn't talking about acronyms, just abbreviations. Yes, they are initialisms, but rather than muddy the waters further by introducing new terms I felt it best to stick to the terms already in play. As it is, I deleted a longer discussion on the etymology of "acronym", specifically the derivation of "acro-" as a prefix (from the Greek "akron" or possibly "akros" meaning "tip or end" via Latin) because my point was solely about the "-nym" part.

    As such, I wasn't really discussing initialism as such, just the incorrect usage of the term "acronym". And some definitions would exclude "RADAR" because of the first "a", but include "LASER" despite skipping the "b".

    Oh, and what about the form of abbrev'n, where a subset of letters is removed for convenience's sake? Sometimes without even an apostrophe to indicate the missing letters, as often used in titles such as Dr, Mr, Mrs, etc?

    And I don't generally pronounce "LOL" as "loll", but usually say "Ell Oh Ell". And yet I will pronounce "ROFLMAO". Possibly because it's funnier that way.

    I was certainly aware that any etymology of a word that suggests it started as an acronym is almost certainly wrong. Especially if it dates from before the 20th Century. Apart from the examples you cite above (like laser, radar, snafu, etc) there aren't many of them that made it into everyday usage. Specifically, if anyone spouts that nonsense about "Fornication Under Consent of the King" again, I may have to stab someone. (I mean, it doesn't even make sense, especially given the definition of "fornication", and indeed how the f-word was historically used.)

    tl;dr: Yes, acronyms and initialisms are both forms of abbreviation, but that further makes my point that the original correction was wrong-headed.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    luxuriant said:
    This article would be more useful if more of the abbreviations were spelled out.
    You mean acronyms, not abbreviations.


    No they are correct. Abbreviations. 

     Abbreviation: when the Letters aren't pronounceable as a word. You say the letters individually. eg. LCP : Liquid Crystal Polymer

     Acronym: when the letters can be pronounced as a word. eg. GUI "goo-ee" : graphical user interface

     Now the challenge is, when is an abbreviation not pronounceable? URL? (I never hear anyone say URL as a word) GIF? -- all dependent on local usage.

    edited December 2017
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