iPhone 12: Meet The Apple Antenna

Will Mahan, Scarlet Staff

When you think of a new iPhone, you wouldn’t be mistaken to think of a futuristic design. However, for the iPhone 12, Apple may plan on bucking this trend in favor of a more retro addition for its new iPhone design. With the rounded edges from previous iPhones being ditched, the new phone is expected to look similar in design to the iPhone 4 or iPhone 5, released in 2010 and 2013 respectively. The uniform edges and serrated lines on the new design showcase  Apple’s retro technology, as well as the new design implemented into the iPad Pro product. Not only that, Apple is also supposedly planning on upgrading its three camera array into a four camera array. The camera being added is reportedly a time of flight camera, a camera that is specifically designed for 3d imaging of objects and subjects. This application will most likely be used to upgrade portrait mode on the iPhone, adding a portrait video mode into Apple’s features. 

In addition to all of these major upgrades, Apple is also taking a heavy gamble on an invention of its own. With the new 5g Apple Antenna being designed for the iPhone 12, Apple will either reap the benefits of independent innovation or face the consequences of putting too much faith into its design capabilities. Rather than relying upon traditional cell phone antennas designed by Qualcomm, Apple has decided to design its own model. A primary reason for Apple’s plan to ditch Qualcomm’s antenna is the size of the antenna, which Apple believes is too big for the slim iPhone 12 redesign. In order to meet this challenge, Apple has reportedly begun innovating its own 5g antenna technology. 

The importance of a strong antenna system within an iPhone can not be understated. For this reason, Apple is still hesitating on whether the new phone should use Qualcomm’s traditionally bigger antennas, at the expense of their slick iPhone 12 redesign plan. Apple is considering creating their own in house antenna technology for the new phones. 

This is not the first time Apple has faced technical difficulties in attempting to create their own personalized antenna technology. In its iPhone 4 design, Apple created its own antenna, but the inhouse designed antennas received a good deal of controversy after the iPhone 4 model was blamed for dropping cell phone calls when the phone was held at a particular angle. According to Fast Company, Apple’s most recent self-designed antenna module reportedly took double the power to produce a radio signal, as comparable antennas did. 

One of the primary challenges faced in creating antenna technology for cell phones is the higher frequencies being outputted by newer generation iPhones. As the first 5g phone model, the iPhone 12 will reportedly use a phased array antenna. The phased array antenna is notable for its ability to be electronically beaconed in multiple directions without rotating the physical antenna within the iPhone. 

Although the antenna module is reportedly being designed by Apple, the modem chip is reportedly still being designed by Qualcomm. It remains to be seen whether Apple’s self-designed antenna module will come into fruition, or whether the company will alter its iPhone 12 plans to accommodate Qualcomm’s larger antenna module. As Apple Inc. Founder Steve Jobs once said, “I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.”