The report claims that a Taiwanese company called Qiqi is in the process of receiving a “large order” for mmWave antennas destined for the iPhone 13 lineup, which may explain Qiqi chairman Xie Hongbo’s announcement that the company’s 5G-related component shipments would increase significantly this year. Apple’s mmWave antennas are currently manufactured by Japanese company Murata Manufacturing, which will apparently share orders with Qiqi for the iPhone 13.
Apple supplier Wistron reportedly invested in Qiqi, becoming its single largest shareholder, thereby helping to bring it into the iPhone supply chain for the first time. Qiqi apparently cooperates closely with Qualcomm on 5G and Wi-Fi 6 components, which was a key factor in the company being selected by Apple for mmWave parts.
In the United States, all iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro models feature both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G. While mmWave is a faster form of 5G, it is less widespread and penetrates less well than sub-6GHz 5G, so the iPhone 12 features the ability to take advantage of both, depending on which is available. Outside the U.S., however, the iPhone 12 lineup only features slower sub-6GHz 5G.
The news that Apple is looking to order a large number of mmWave antennas and double its suppliers for the component may signal that iPhone 13 models will feature faster mmWave technology in more regions. Countries such as the UK, Germany, Canada, China, and Japan all have growing mmWave networks and would be able to benefit from faster 5G with the iPhone 13.
Moreover, the report notes that Qiqi is the market leader in designing antennas for laptops, which Apple could take advantage of to add 5G connectivity to a MacBook at some point in the future. For now, however, Apple’s large order from Qiqi will reportedly support iPhone 13 lineup only.