Apple is expected to introduce a new liquid crystal polymer (LCP) antenna design for its 2019 iPhone SE 2, which may boost signal quality and cellular performance. That’s according to an investor’s note penned by TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and published on Monday.
LCP is a low-cost material that’s particularly well-suited for smartphone antenna components. Kuo says that Murata Manufacturing and Career Technologies will supply the redesigned antenna mechanisms early next year, in time for a launch within the first half of 2020.
Compared to antenna materials used on the previous iPhone SE, the new design could allow for easier manufacturing and improved connectivity gains of “up to 5.1 decibels,” according to an IEEE paper. In short, the technology should boost the cellular connectivity performance of the upcoming handset.
It’s worth noting that LCP-based antennae have already been used in iPhones. The iPhone XS, XS Max and XR use LCP antenna mechanisms.
Interestingly, back in May, Kuo said that the 2019 iPhones would switch to a new material due to LCP-related production problems. But he noted that 2020 iPhones would switch back to using LCP in time for 5G antenna components.
The so-called “iPhone SE 2” itself will be an interesting device for Apple. Despite the name, the handset is rumored to be more of an iPhone 8 than an actual iPhone SE successor — with a 4.7-inch display rather than the 4-inch display of the latter device.
Despite that, the iPhone SE 2 will likely be a hit in the lower-end market. According to Kuo, it’ll pack an A13 processor with 3GB of RAM. It’ll also come in 64GB and 128GB storage capacities and will start at $399.
Because of its powerful internals and low price point, Kuo forecasts that the device will be a “key growth driver” for Apple throughout 2020. He anticipates shipments of 2 to 4 million units per month, with 30 million total iPhone SE 2 models sold by the end of next year.
The iPhone SE 2 is reportedly set to debut in the first quarter of 2020 (between January and March), likely at a spring keynote event.