Apple to offset costly 5G iPhone components with cheaper battery tech

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited August 2020
Looking to cut costs on next-generation hardware, Apple will adopt cheaper and less complex battery technology for so-called "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12S" and "AirPods 3" devices, according to TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

iPhone Battery


Starting with this year's expected "iPhone 12" family, Kuo in a note to investors on Friday said he believes Apple will reduce the number of rigid-flex battery board layers and squeeze active cell components into a smaller area to achieve an average unit price 40% to 50% lower than iPhone 11. Looking ahead of 2021, Apple's "iPhone 12S" will ditch rigid-flex boards for a flexible architecture that should shave 30% to 40% off "iPhone 12" battery unit costs.

The cost saving measures, coupled with increased bargaining pressure to drive down component prices, are anticipated to hurt current battery board suppliers.

Apple is looking for ways to offset a costly upgrade to 5G, Kuo says. The analyst pegs the cost of upgrading to sub-6Ghz and millimeter wave technologies at $75 to $85 and $125 to $135, respectively. The strategy should keep consumer pricing steady during the transition to 5G.

Regulatory filings discovered in July suggest Apple's 2020 iPhones will integrate batteries with slightly reduced capacities as compared to the iPhone 11 series. Depending on handset size, this year's cells are supposedly rated at 2,227mAh, 2,775mAh and 2,815mAh, compared to 3,110mAh for iPhone 11 and 3,190mAh for iPhone 11 Pro. The lone upgrade could be a 3,687mAh component rumored for inclusion in the 6.7-inch "iPhone 12 Pro Max," with the spec making it slightly more capacious than the 3,500mAh version used in iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Kuo adds that Apple will make similar moves with its AirPods lineup. The company is predicted to abandon existing second-generation AirPods battery PCB tech for a system-in-package design that will debut with a third-generation model in the first half of 2021. The new unit's battery cells will further drive down average unit cost, which is on track to sink 25% to 35% in the second half of 2020, Kuo says.

Apple is widely expected to launch four "iPhone 12" models this fall. More affordable 5.4- and 6.1-inch "iPhone 12" models are rumored to sport OLED screens, dual cameras, an "A14" processor and aluminum chassis, while flagship 6.1- and 6.7-inch "iPhone Pro" handsets add upgraded displays, an extra camera and, on the largest "iPhone 12 Pro Max" model, a LiDAR Scanner. All 2020 iPhones should boast 5G connectivity.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    Looks like another epic failure, like everything Apple does with batteries.
    Just incredible how bad their performance is versus 100s of billions invested.
    Translated into AppleCar that would mean it won’t have a motorway range because it can’t leave the city (if it will ever leave the factory, that is...)
    edited August 2020 lkrupp
  • Reply 2 of 44
    I must say, between the reported lack of 120HZ refresh rate, the lower battery capacity and unchanged notch I am very disappointed. 5G is a tech that rarely is available for most of us and is far less useful most of the time. This phone IF it’s as leaked will be a skip for me. Not understanding Apple’s skimping on a> $1000 phone. 
    cornchiplkrupp
  • Reply 3 of 44
     80s_Apple_Guy said:
    I must say, between the reported lack of 120HZ refresh rate, the lower battery capacity and unchanged notch I am very disappointed. 5G is a tech that rarely is available for most of us and is far less useful most of the time. This phone IF it’s as leaked will be a skip for me. Not understanding Apple’s skimping on a> $1000 phone. 
    Still likely to be quite a meaningful upgrade for a XS or earlier owner, if the delivered battery performance is similar to the 11 series it'll meet/exceed the user expectations
    patchythepiratekillroymuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 44
    Looks like another epic failure, like everything Apple does with batteries.
    Just incredible how bad their performance is versus 100s of billions invested.
    Translated into AppleCar that would mean it won’t have a motorway range because it can’t leave the city (if it will ever leave the factory, that is...)
    What in the world are you talking about.  Typical trash Apple talk.   
    patchythepirateDogpersonlkruppkillroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 44
    Apple used to have the best tech and components because they sell at a premium and customer experience is not sacrificed at the altar of profiteering. 

    But like the Apple before jobs second return, im starting to have pangs of envy comparing its products against the competition. I think it’s safe to say that iPhones, at least on the hardware side, is falling further and further behind the likes of Samsung Xiaomi Huawei and OnePlus flagships. The Apple se is not even competing on the same weight class as Google pixel 4a. The ugly notch, thick bezel, small battery, average still cam with weak zoom, terrible selfie cam, Face ID that’s so inconvenient in our masked up world, average screen, etc. And now they want to nickel and dime its customers just to include 5g which was available for more than a year in some cheap android phones?! I think this is the year for me to finally make the switch to Android. 
    edited August 2020 lkrupp
  • Reply 6 of 44
    Apple can decrease their profit margin a bit instead of using components with less quality. Just a thought. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 44
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 746member
    What the haters miss as much as the fanboys do is that Apple is a company that is working to make profits for shareholders. Apple won’t uses more expensive tech when users don’t know their head from their elbow and they just want the latest 5G. Apple is no longer an innovator in new ideas, just how to squeeze more out of old ones (hey brand new phone that looks like an iPhone 4). We screwed up in our design of the MBP video cards, no problem let the users pay, let’s squeeze as much out of our developers and try not to pay rent on our leased spaces. And it works. Which makes me sad till I look at my Apple shares and then I am happy! It is a business and they don’t care about you or me unless our last names are Buffet or the like.
    matteblack13ITGUYINSDmuthuk_vanalingamelijahg
  • Reply 8 of 44
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,272member
    These are all rumors, but if there is one area in particular where I would be extremely hesitant to apply cost reduction strategies it would be the batteries. The words “cheaper battery technology” should induce 7 levels of panic in Apple’s upper management. Please take Note Apple: the risk of failure may be very low, but the penalty for failure even on a small scale is truly massive. 
    Pascalxx80s_Apple_GuykillroyelijahgRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 44
    Sounds like Kuo is shooting from the hip again with this dumb rumor.
    cornchipmike1muthuk_vanalingamkillroyrazorpitolsRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 44
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    Sounds like Kuo is shooting from the hip again with this dumb rumor.

    The best way to lie is to tell part of the truth....     And, it seems to me that this story is telling part of the truth -- which is NOT to say that either Kuo or the author are intentionally lying, misleading or distorting the truth.    Rather, they (and we) only are seeing one side of this coin.   I'll wait to hear and see the the rest of the story before making an opinion.

    Apple isn't stupid, they know:
    -- Their future rests on customer satisfaction and confidence.
    -- That battery life is one of the most critical features of a phone to their customers.  (Witness "Battery-Gate"!)
    -- That Apple customers (even at the low end) are willing to pay premium dollars to get a premium product
    -- The size of a battery is of no functional importance, it's how it performs in the phone -- and we know that size is only one determinant of that.

    I'll wait for the rest of the story before concluding that Apple is cutting back on battery life and performance in order to reduce costs and boost their profit margins
    shark5150cornchipPascalxxmike1mwhitekillroyelijahgRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 44
     80s_Apple_Guy said:
    I must say, between the reported lack of 120HZ refresh rate, the lower battery capacity and unchanged notch I am very disappointed. 5G is a tech that rarely is available for most of us and is far less useful most of the time. This phone IF it’s as leaked will be a skip for me. Not understanding Apple’s skimping on a> $1000 phone. 
    Still likely to be quite a meaningful upgrade for a XS or earlier owner, if the delivered battery performance is similar to the 11 series it'll meet/exceed the user expectations
    I’m an XS owner and see zero reason to upgrade to what’s been leaked, though admittedly I bought the XS with the intention of keeping 3-4 years. The processor still flys. 

    5G? - mostly unavailable and plans are expensive.  LTE is plenty fast enough.
    Lidar?  Couldn’t care less I’ll never use it.  Camera spec bumps?  I haven’t perceived a change since my iPhone 6.

    Smaller notch, smaller bezels, 120hz, and a fresh design would be enticing.
    80s_Apple_Guyrazorpit
  • Reply 12 of 44
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,943member

    -- That battery life is one of the most critical features of a phone to their customers.  (Witness "Battery-Gate"!)



    Right?! Yeah... I don’t see them walking in to that one again if they can help it. 

    Edit: tbf, I wish they’d just wait on 5G till it’s something that actually matters, but I realize they basically had to or they’d get shredded to bits by the press. 
    edited August 2020 headfull0winewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 44
    Who let the trolls out of the barn today?  I told you to keep that door properly latched!
    lkruppmike1SpamSandwichkillroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 44
    rattlhedrattlhed Posts: 155member
    tomasulu said:
    Apple used to have the best tech and components because they sell at a premium and customer experience is not sacrificed at the altar of profiteering. 

    But like the Apple before jobs second return, im starting to have pangs of envy comparing its products against the competition. I think it’s safe to say that iPhones, at least on the hardware side, is falling further and further behind the likes of Samsung Xiaomi Huawei and OnePlus flagships. The Apple se is not even competing on the same weight class as Google pixel 4a. The ugly notch, thick bezel, small battery, average still cam with weak zoom, terrible selfie cam, Face ID that’s so inconvenient in our masked up world, average screen, etc. And now they want to nickel and dime its customers just to include 5g which was available for more than a year in some cheap android phones?! I think this is the year for me to finally make the switch to Android. 
    I agree.  Although my plans won't be to switch to Android, I will be hanging on to my 11 Pro for this year's upgrade cycle if the leaks are true.  I do have phone envy, very strong phone envy with all the flagships coming out.  Gorgeous 120hz screens, pinhole cameras, edge to edge bezels, subsonic fingerprint readers (yes, I really miss fingerprint unlock) super quality cameras (though Apple's cameras are probably the best feature).  These flagships are making the iPhone look like tech from 4 years ago.  I love my Apple products but man I wish they would get off their ass and blow us away.  Why the hell can't they do 120hz?  A $2 Trillion company can't do that?  5G is the least important feature for the next cycle of phones in my opinion.  
    80s_Apple_Guy
  • Reply 15 of 44
    Who let the trolls out of the barn today?  I told you to keep that door properly latched!
    Maybe this isn't the place for you.  I hear the Apple Community forums are censored and they remove any anti-Apple posts.  Sounds like a better fit for you.
    tomasuluSpamSandwichelijahg
  • Reply 16 of 44
    dewme said:
    These are all rumors, but if there is one area in particular where I would be extremely hesitant to apply cost reduction strategies it would be the batteries. The words “cheaper battery technology” should induce 7 levels of panic in Apple’s upper management. Please take Note Apple: the risk of failure may be very low, but the penalty for failure even on a small scale is truly massive. 
    I appreciate the point and the pun.
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 44
    JackyChanJackyChan Posts: 13unconfirmed, member
    Inverted values relative to mine: 5G > Battery life Notch > 120hz screen So much for my planned upgrade.
  • Reply 18 of 44
    Sounds like Kuo is shooting from the hip again with this dumb rumor.
    Hopefully. However, the same basic rumors, no 120KHZ, smaller battery, same notch are being reported across the board by many sources. The past few years have shown that rumors that are widespread regarding upcoming iPhones tend to be true. 

    Apple will be shredded in the media if smaller battery and no 120HZ, which has been in competing flagships for almost 2 years now.  Rightfully so. 
    edited August 2020
  • Reply 19 of 44
    hmlongcohmlongco Posts: 525member
    Then again, the process change for A14 plus the also rumored OLED technology change both result in significantly reduced power requirements, which could well mean that battery life is the same, or even slightly better. The processor and gpu performance should also be stellar, but now that Apple's been leading the pack there for a couple of years now, that metric doesn't seem to matter much for some odd reason.

    And I agree with itguyinsd, this post seemed to draw more trolls than usual.
    killroyrandominternetpersontmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 44
    rattlhed said:
    tomasulu said:
    Apple used to have the best tech and components because they sell at a premium and customer experience is not sacrificed at the altar of profiteering. 

    But like the Apple before jobs second return, im starting to have pangs of envy comparing its products against the competition. I think it’s safe to say that iPhones, at least on the hardware side, is falling further and further behind the likes of Samsung Xiaomi Huawei and OnePlus flagships. The Apple se is not even competing on the same weight class as Google pixel 4a. The ugly notch, thick bezel, small battery, average still cam with weak zoom, terrible selfie cam, Face ID that’s so inconvenient in our masked up world, average screen, etc. And now they want to nickel and dime its customers just to include 5g which was available for more than a year in some cheap android phones?! I think this is the year for me to finally make the switch to Android. 
    I agree.  Although my plans won't be to switch to Android, I will be hanging on to my 11 Pro for this year's upgrade cycle if the leaks are true.  I do have phone envy, very strong phone envy with all the flagships coming out.  Gorgeous 120hz screens, pinhole cameras, edge to edge bezels, subsonic fingerprint readers (yes, I really miss fingerprint unlock) super quality cameras (though Apple's cameras are probably the best feature).  These flagships are making the iPhone look like tech from 4 years ago.  I love my Apple products but man I wish they would get off their ass and blow us away.  Why the hell can't they do 120hz?  A $2 Trillion company can't do that?  5G is the least important feature for the next cycle of phones in my opinion.  

    Won’t be easy for me to switch, I am invested in iCloud, Ipad, MacBook, Apple watch and AirPods pro. But I will start with an android spare phone and work to take myself off the Apple ecosystem over time. It’s at that point where you feel a company has gotten arrogant and lazy and takes its customers for granted. 
    edited August 2020 elijahg
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