Apple reportedly taps Taiwan's ASE for mmWave 5G iPhone and iPad Pro

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2020
Component manufacturer Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) is reported to have become one of Apple's suppliers for the antennas needed on the mmWave 5G "iPhone 12" and for the iPad Pro too.




Apple is reported to have added Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), a Taiwanese component company, as a supplier for its forthcoming 5G iPhones and iPads. The company previously packaged and tested RF and Wi-Fi processors for iPhones and Apple Watches.

According to Digitimes, the company will be supplying its "flip chip antenna-in-package" (FC-AiP) for 5G.

"Supply chain sources confirmed that mmWave 5G iPads will be among Apple's new product roadmaps," says the publication. "And one such iPad will be fitted with at least one more AiP modules due to its larger area size than iPhone. The sources said mmWave 5G iPads are likely to adopt all cost-effective FC_AiP modules."

It's significant that the supply chain is specifying the mmWave variant of 5G. This is the ideal 5G in that devices with it will fully exploit the far faster download speeds. However, it's more expensive to make mmWave devices, and also it is going to take time for all areas of the country to receive it.

Digitimes also says that supplier TSMC has already been contracted to make slimmer mmWave 5G "iPhone 12" antennas called InFO_AIP. The "iPhone 12," or some other future 5G iPhone, is believed to require one of these plus two of ASE's FC_AiP modules.

The slimmer modules would clearly benefit the iPhone, but they cost 2-3 times more to make. Consequently Digitimes says that with its larger size, the iPad will be able to feature the full size FC_AiP. It's also said that a 5G iPad will feature more of these modules.

It's not clear whether ASE will be supplying these antennas for the 5G "iPhone 12." Digitimes claims that such a phone would need either three or four antenna-in-package modules.

Apple has not yet announced any 5G products, but it has been repeatedly reported to be a key feature of 2020's iPhone launch. It's been presumed that iPads or iPads Pro would get the same cellular connectivity, but it hasn't been known whether this would mean the faster mmWave 5G.

A foldable 5G iPad Pro has previously been rumored for 2021.

However, the regularly reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said the iPad Pro will receive 5G in 2020.

DigiTimes generally has accurate information from individual component manufacturers regarding delivery timetables. However, it has a poor track record on Apple's specific plans.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    robjnrobjn Posts: 263member
    You say
    “However, it's more expensive to make mmWave devices, and also it is going to take time for all areas of the country to receive it.”

    mmWave only works over a couple of hundred feet. Carriers such as T-Mobile have stated that they have no plans to deploy mmWave in rural areas. This technology will apparently be limited to densely populated areas.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 6
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,040member
    robjn said:
    You say
    “However, it's more expensive to make mmWave devices, and also it is going to take time for all areas of the country to receive it.”

    mmWave only works over a couple of hundred feet. Carriers such as T-Mobile have stated that they have no plans to deploy mmWave in rural areas. This technology will apparently be limited to densely populated areas.
    ...and other carriers have stated that it will never be available outside of densely populated areas. I think the main purpose would be for the bloggers to post bragging rights on how fast they can download something.
    edited January 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 6
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    robjn said:
    You say
    “However, it's more expensive to make mmWave devices, and also it is going to take time for all areas of the country to receive it.”

    mmWave only works over a couple of hundred feet. Carriers such as T-Mobile have stated that they have no plans to deploy mmWave in rural areas. This technology will apparently be limited to densely populated areas.
    Well it should work farther than that.  The real problem with mm wave tech is that it is very line of site.   It would be very easy to walk into a dead spot 100 feet front m the transmitter.   From a practical standpoint point the cell companies will never be able to spot a transmitter every 200 feet so the idea that a system based on such short ranges would be useful is kinda of joke.  

    Honestly the only people that will get excited about mmWave tech are the uninformed.   For most cell users it will never work to the level of some of the inflated ideas people have.  It will be great for those that successfully connect but they will not be the majority.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 6
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,040member
    wizard69 said:
    robjn said:
    You say
    “However, it's more expensive to make mmWave devices, and also it is going to take time for all areas of the country to receive it.”

    mmWave only works over a couple of hundred feet. Carriers such as T-Mobile have stated that they have no plans to deploy mmWave in rural areas. This technology will apparently be limited to densely populated areas.
    Well it should work farther than that.  The real problem with mm wave tech is that it is very line of site.   It would be very easy to walk into a dead spot 100 feet front m the transmitter.   From a practical standpoint point the cell companies will never be able to spot a transmitter every 200 feet so the idea that a system based on such short ranges would be useful is kinda of joke.  

    Honestly the only people that will get excited about mmWave tech are the uninformed.   For most cell users it will never work to the level of some of the inflated ideas people have.  It will be great for those that successfully connect but they will not be the majority.  
    The specified range is "up to 300 meters," or ~1000 feet. A bit more than a few hundred, but not much more. The line of sight issue is a bigger one. The theory is that the transmitters will use beam forming and multiple transmitters to overcome obstacles. That requires a ton of infrastructure, though and we're waiting to see how it works in practice. 

    As I and many others have said, speed is not the primary reason to upgrade to 5G, and the primary use for 5G is not for mobile phones. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 6
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,743member
    5G is a collection of technologies that will work in tandem, with some of them designed for very specific situations.

    I'm not sure I would consider there to be one 'true' variant of 5G (perhaps with the exception of SA over NSA) and when things hit the backbone, fiber will do a lot of the heavy lifting. How things get onto the backbone will itself depend on the hardware deployed by the carrier and the configuration of the network itself.

    Before Christmas I posted a link to a video comparing some Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia towers. There can be dramatic differences just because the tower you are connected to is more or less capable (independent of the frequency). The same differences are applicable to 4G of course. It goes without saying that the antenna setup inside the phone also has to be up to the task along with the modem. 

    I think of mmWave more as another piece in the 5G puzzle.

    Curiously, WiFi 6 can (and is, in some current commercial deployments) be enhanced by using 5G technologies such as 5G antenna and network slicing, to reduce latency, increase bandwidth, signal strength and reach.  

    As to whether Apple is planning mmWave and non-mmWave variants, I have no idea from a technical standing but perhaps they (Qualcomm, in this case) might ship one modem (on SoC or not) and simply shut down the mmWave capability. That would allow them to ship one part that could serve different needs. My thinking is that there might be cost savings along the way but I really have no idea. 

    What I can say is that the Balong5000 series has a whopping 3GB of memory onboard so savings (economical, physical or power)
    might be possible somewhere.


    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 6 of 6
    I fully expect Apple to settle on a single component that will be used across iPhones and iPads. None of this, "Oh, we'll put it in the iPads first and the iPhones later" nonsense.
    watto_cobra
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