Rumor suggests Apple's 5G iPhone could rely on a custom antenna

Richard Lawler
Senior News Editor

For years, leaks and rumors have targeted 2020 for the arrival of Apple's first iPhone with 5G capabilities. Now we're in the year, and carriers are starting to roll out networks with the high-bandwidth connections. Samsung already revealed that its Galaxy S20 series will offer 5G support across the line, although only the super-sized Ultra model will support both sub-6 and mmWave connections. Now Fast Company reports that as Apple continues to lock down plans for its 2020 iPhone models, the company is still choosing between two designs for a 5G version.

That's because, according to the rumor, the thickness-obsessed designers at Apple have a custom antenna -- they bought Intel's tech last year for a reason -- that makes the 5G iPhone sleeker than is possible if the company relies on Qualcomm's.

Plus, even though Qualcomm and Apple have squashed their beef over royalties, the claim is that Apple would prefer to use as few of the other company's components as possible to keep from paying them more. That the phone will use a Snapdragon X55 modem for 5G -- just like Samsung's models -- is apparently a given, but the choice between the two options is reportedly in play for at least a few more weeks.

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iPhone 4 antenna

That's because eventually Apple needs to make a choice and begin production of the devices -- not to mention accessories like cases -- before they're introduced and go on sale in the fall. The additional wrinkle, of course, is the complexity of 5G tech that's still relatively new, and Apple's struggles using its own antenna design in the iPhone 4.