Apple's brawny 5G iPhone family will require larger, pricey motherboards

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2019
Apple's first 5G iPhones are expected to rip movies, emails and photos down from the cloud at record speeds but that won't come without a price -- at least for Apple, where some components required to support the new spec may run a premium of up to 35%.

Sample 5G tower installed on the outskirts of a residential neighborhood
Sample 5G tower installed on the outskirts of a residential neighborhood


In a note to investors seen by AppleInsider, Kuo believes that the main logic-board on the 2020 iPhone 5G will have to grow by about 10% in area to accommodate the new technologies. That increase in area will come with a cost -- the board fabrication and some new antenna technology will force a 35% increase in cost to build that component.

The increase in the board size is related to heat dissipation from the 5G technology, and the circuitry related to connect to the new antenna technologies for 5G. This does not mean the entire phone will cost 35% more -- but the motherboard of the iPhone is a significant cost. Larger expenses are the A-series processor that will be placed on that board, and the OLED screen expected to be mounted on the device.

Suppliers expected to benefit from the larger logicboard are Avary, EMC, and AT&S. All three are existing Apple suppliers.

At present, 5G options in shipping phones are adding about an additional $400 to the price of an already expensive flagship phone, like the Galaxy S10. It isn't presently clear what impact the new technology will have on what appears to be an iPhone redesign with escalating construction costs from other components.

Kuo has previously said that the design will include a metal frame with a "more complex segmentation design, new trenching and injection molding procedures, and sapphire or glass cover assembly to protect the trench injection molding structure." Kuo goes on to claim the "metal frame and front and rear 2/2.5D glass are still used, but the metal frame surface will be changed to a similar design to the iPhone 4, replacing the current surface design."

Due to the changes, Kuo believes the cost of construction will increase for the metal frame by between 50% and 60%, while the glass case cost will go up between 40% and 50%. If tempered glass is used for the grooved cover, the metal middle frame and chassis cost could go up by 25% to 35% and 20% to 30% respectively.

According to Kuo's predictions, the new design will help improve supplier revenue and profitability, and could help increase shipments to 85 million units in 2020, 10 million more than the 75 million reckoned to happen in 2019.

Kuo also predicts the use of VCSEL rangefinders, time-of-flight sensors that offer both photo quality and augmented reality applications. There is also the suggestion of a smaller TrueDepth camera notch for the 2020 model, and a full-screen display for 2021.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 99
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,356member
    Cool stuff. He's not typically too far off.
    mazda 3sdoozydozen
  • Reply 2 of 99
    thttht Posts: 5,530member
    Sounds like Apple could wait until 2021 for a 5G phone. Sheesh. It is a lose-lose-lose. More power consumption, means more heat, means bigger battery, means bigger devices, leading to a more expensive phone, for a cellular functionality that I won’t really experience unless I’m packed in a room with 50,000 of my closest friends. 

    Is 5 nm going be enough to make 5G functionality worthwhile?
    caladanianwatto_cobragilly33Wgkruegerforgot usernamehydrogendoozydozenbeowulfschmidtnetmageAppleExposed
  • Reply 3 of 99
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,919member
    Apple did smart move to hold on until 2020 or later to release 5G iphones. I am thinking to stay bit longer on LTE. But, more curious to know how Apple will keep iPhone 12(equivalent to current iPhone 11) price lower by not offering 5G or by not offering OLED or both ? something got to give up for $699 price point.
    edited November 2019 watto_cobradoozydozenAppleExposed
  • Reply 4 of 99
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,744member
    tht said:
    for a cellular functionality that I won’t really experience unless I’m packed in a room with 50,000 of my closest friends. 
    I don't really understand this part.  My expectation with 5G is that I won't experience the speed increases unless I'm in a downtown urban area where it was worthwhile to build a 5G tower (which thankfully I live close to).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 99
    foljsfoljs Posts: 390member
    Apple's first 5G iPhones are expected to rip movies, emails and photos down from the cloud at record speeds

    No, they really aren't. Carriers don't have the bandwidth, even if they nominally claim they have "5G" networks...

    caladanianwatto_cobracy_starkmangilly33forgot usernamedoozydozennetmageAppleExposed
  • Reply 6 of 99
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    tht said:
    Sounds like Apple could wait until 2021 for a 5G phone. Sheesh. It is a lose-lose-lose. More power consumption, means more heat, means bigger battery, means bigger devices, leading to a more expensive phone, for a cellular functionality that I won’t really experience unless I’m packed in a room with 50,000 of my closest friends. 

    Is 5 nm going be enough to make 5G functionality worthwhile?
    And remember that other 5G phone makers are experiencing the exact same issues. This is not an Apple exclusive. 5G is apparently a battery hog right now and it looks like Apple’s penchant for thinness has bumped up against engineering reality when it comes to 5G. We’ll see how this pans out but Apple has pulled a rabbit out of its hat a number of times in the past. It also points out that the Achilles Heel of all these great inventions is battery technology itself which doesn’t seem to be making as much progress as is needed. Pushing electrons around in a circuit is an almost 200 year old endeavor with Volta inventing the first true battery in 1800 . The chemistry involved is difficult and sometimes dangerous as smartphone and laptop owners have found out the hard way. Watch one of those videos where e-cig vapers have their pants blow up.
    edited November 2019 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 99
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    Apple's first 5G iPhones are expected to rip movies, emails and photos down from the cloud at record speeds
    While that statement is correct, it does not fit with history that tells us that major communications advances change computing in profound ways.   Who could have predicted how dial-up or ethernet would change how formerly stand-alone computers were used -- or how high speed cable would change how formerly dial-up computers are used.   Today, the best comparison for 5G is comparing high speed cable to 4G.   So, one could say that nothing will change, it'll just get a little faster.   But one would probably be wrong.

    As for cost:  all new technologies start with a price premium.  My first desktop computer cost over $9,000 and my iPhone 6+ cost more than my grandson's Xr.  Yes, the initial 5G phones will likely be pricey.   That won't last long.
    edited November 2019 viclauyycwatto_cobraAppleExposed
  • Reply 8 of 99
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    tht said:
    Sounds like Apple could wait until 2021 for a 5G phone. Sheesh. It is a lose-lose-lose. More power consumption, means more heat, means bigger battery, means bigger devices, leading to a more expensive phone, for a cellular functionality that I won’t really experience unless I’m packed in a room with 50,000 of my closest friends. 

    Is 5 nm going be enough to make 5G functionality worthwhile?
    Then they will have lost the China market which is far ahead of the U.S. -- rolling 5G out nationally this week.  Meanwhile, the U.S. shot itself in the foot with 5G and is increasingly lagging behind the rest of the world.   But, the U.S. is a minor part of the world market.   Apple can't afford to sit on its butt for much longer. 

    And besides, these days, for most people,  phones don't get used for 1 or even 2 years and then discarded.  Who wants to invest $1,000 in a phone that'll soon be obsolete?  Only those who trade their's in every year.
  • Reply 9 of 99
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    gatorguy said:
    Cool stuff. He's not typically too far off.
    When he said " the cost of construction will increase for the metal frame by between 50% and 60%" I realized he was trying to make a mountain out of that molehill.   We had metal frames back in the iPhone 4 / 5 days.   Not a big deal.
    d_2
  • Reply 10 of 99
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,056member
    Yeah? But after like 16GB, they throttle the speed to 3G by most carrier...it’s mostly no benefit vs 4G LTE
    caladanianspeakingmywordsmwhitewatto_cobraAppleExposed
  • Reply 11 of 99
    Imagine you accidentally download a 4K movie in 4.5 second and it used all your data for the month. Not to mention you have to pay extra $175 for the additional data. 

    Crying in Canada.

    Just saying.
    watto_cobradoozydozenAppleExposed
  • Reply 12 of 99
    I've yet to be convinced that this whole "5G thing" isn't really a fleecing of consumers because carriers (and phone manufacturers) have run out of ways to innovate and need a revenue stream in the coming years.

    It's going to be spotty coverage.  It doesn't penetrate buildings well.  Short distance.  And, most of all, who needs that sort of speed on a phone?  You're not going to watch a 2 hour movie any faster!  Not to say some people won't have some reason to validate ridiculously fast speeds on a phone, but for 99% of us, isn't the existing 4GLTE system plenty fast?   If the carriers just worked on filling in the dead spots for that, who needs 5G?  The other day, on AT&T, I was getting 100 down/50 up.  Why would I need anything faster on my iPhone?

    And now, 5G devices will be more expensive, bigger, hotter, etc.  Not convinced.

    edited November 2019 watto_cobracy_starkmangilly33tokyojimuAppleExposed
  • Reply 13 of 99
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,279member
    Now we know why Apple has not budged on their margins. What they have coming in the pipeline is very expensive for them to build, implement and support.

    The 5G era will be a dramatic shift for the world.


  • Reply 14 of 99
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,279member

    viclauyyc said:
    Imagine you accidentally download a 4K movie in 4.5 second and it used all your data for the month. Not to mention you have to pay extra $175 for the additional data. 

    Crying in Canada.

    Just saying.

    Which provider are you on? Yes, data costs here is insane, but there's rumblings of "unlimited" offerings by Telus coming. The other carriers should follow. I'm on Bell and 16GB of data is still not enough for a month.  :p
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 99
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    wood1208 said:
    Apple did smart move to hold on until 2020 or later to release 5G iphones. I am thinking to stay bit longer on LTE. But, more curious to know how Apple will keep iPhone 12(equivalent to current iPhone 11) price lower by not offering 5G or by not offering OLED or both ? something got to give up for $699 price point.
    I still don’t think people realize that 5G will not be universally something that people can leverage. It will pretty much be line of sight technology. As such it isn’t something to get excited about in a cell phone. This especially early in the technologies roll out where you can expect many dead spots. On the other hand if we are talking iPad I suspect fewer frustrations with that due to the way IPads are often used. If Apple was smart they would lead with a 5G IPad as IPad can certainly use the bandwidth. More importantly you have a much smaller client base to work with thus far fewer pissed off customers. IPad is a good place to work out the 5G kinks.
    watto_cobragilly33forgot username
  • Reply 16 of 99
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,836member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    I've yet to be convinced that this whole "5G thing" isn't really a fleecing of consumers because carriers (and phone manufacturers) have run out of ways to innovate and need a revenue stream in the coming years.

    It's going to be spotty coverage.  It doesn't penetrate buildings well.  Short distance.  And, most of all, who needs that sort of speed on a phone?  You're not going to watch a 2 hour movie any faster!  Not to say some people won't have some reason to validate ridiculously fast speeds on a phone, but for 99% of us, isn't the existing 4GLTE system plenty fast?   If the carriers just worked on filling in the dead spots for that, who needs 5G?  The other day, on AT&T, I was getting 100 down/50 up.  Why would I need anything faster on my iPhone?

    And now, 5G devices will be more expensive, bigger, hotter, etc.  Not convinced.

    Exactly right. And that’s why I’m getting an 11. Here in the land of heavy rain, thick forests, and long distances, it will be a looooong time before we get 5G, and even then I don’t expect much if any benefit. (Heck, i still run into spots of 3G around here.) I’ll use my 11 for 3-5 years and then see what things look like. If I need a big or fast download, nearly every office, coffee shop, or house around here has Shaw Open wifi. I’m very much not waiting for, or even that excited about 5G. I see through the hype.
    watto_cobrad_2beowulfschmidtAppleExposed
  • Reply 17 of 99
    thttht Posts: 5,530member
    tht said:
    Sounds like Apple could wait until 2021 for a 5G phone. Sheesh. It is a lose-lose-lose. More power consumption, means more heat, means bigger battery, means bigger devices, leading to a more expensive phone, for a cellular functionality that I won’t really experience unless I’m packed in a room with 50,000 of my closest friends. 

    Is 5 nm going be enough to make 5G functionality worthwhile?
    Then they will have lost the China market which is far ahead of the U.S. -- rolling 5G out nationally this week.  Meanwhile, the U.S. shot itself in the foot with 5G and is increasingly lagging behind the rest of the world.   But, the U.S. is a minor part of the world market.   Apple can't afford to sit on its butt for much longer. 

    And besides, these days, for most people,  phones don't get used for 1 or even 2 years and then discarded.  Who wants to invest $1,000 in a phone that'll soon be obsolete?  Only those who trade their's in every year.
    They can afford to wait another year for the hardware to become more efficient. It looks like they aren’t and are shipping 5G phones in 2020, so it’s a moot point, but these phones rumored by Kuo do not sound very good unless he is confused, and Apple will do a much better job putting everything together.

    If the tradeoff for 5G is a hotter, bigger phone, it’s not the people buying LTE phones that are obsolete. The latter gets a phone with mature technology, long run times, runs, cooler, and is reliable. They will work well for a long time.

    It’s the early adopters of 5G phones who are buying obsolete phones. They run hot - hot enough that some models have to turn off 5G to cool down in order to continue to work - and the availability is spotty. In 2021 or 2022, those 2019/2020 5G phone buyers are the ones who should be upgrading to more efficient 5G phones so they can have the same experience as LTE phone buyers, with whatever benefits 5G provides.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 99
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,020member
    Why would the 5G phones be “brawny?”  
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 99
    Apple's first 5G iPhones are expected to rip movies, emails and photos down from the cloud at record speeds
    While that statement is correct, it does not fit with history that tells us that major communications advances change computing in profound ways.   Who could have predicted how dial-up or ethernet would change how formerly stand-alone computers were used -- or how high speed cable would change how formerly dial-up computers are used.   Today, the best comparison for 5G is comparing high speed cable to 4G.   So, one could say that nothing will change, it'll just get a little faster.   But one would probably be wrong.

    As for cost:  all new technologies start with a price premium.  My first desktop computer cost over $9,000 and my iPhone 6+ cost more than my grandson's Xr.  Yes, the initial 5G phones will likely be pricey.   That won't last long.
    There are an awful lot of users who don't rip movies etc with their phones.
    There is nothing I want from 5G that 4G does not already give me and I'm not alone in that.
    TBH, the probability of me watching a movie on a phone sized screen is close to zero. I'd rather watch paint dry.
    I hope that there will still be a choice of non 5G phones (and hence no price premium) to choose from for some years to come.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 99
    I'm not too sure I want to live next to any towers. Bad enough all of the EMFs around we have to live with. I guess it's time to get a larger tin foil hat and space blanket.
    auxio said:
    tht said:
    for a cellular functionality that I won’t really experience unless I’m packed in a room with 50,000 of my closest friends. 
    I don't really understand this part.  My expectation with 5G is that I won't experience the speed increases unless I'm in a downtown urban area where it was worthwhile to build a 5G tower (which thankfully I live close to).
    watto_cobra
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