Apple is wide­ly expect­ed to debut its first 5G iPhones this fall, pow­ered by Qualcomm’s X55 modem — thanks to Apple and Qualcomm’s sur­prise set­tle­ment last year that saw the two com­pa­nies resume busi­ness. But a new report from Fast Com­pa­ny indi­cates that Apple is look­ing to lim­it its reliance on Qual­comm, with the iPhone mak­er said to be explor­ing design­ing its own 5G anten­na rather than rely­ing on Qualcomm’s exist­ing hard­ware.

The issue at hand is appar­ent­ly the size of Qualcomm’s QTM525 anten­na, specif­i­cal­ly for access­ing the faster mmWave ver­sion of 5G, which a Fast Com­pa­ny source claims is too large for the slim pro­file of Apple’s next iPhones. As such, Apple is said to be devel­op­ing its own, in-house anten­na sys­tem that would bet­ter fit the intend­ed iPhone design. Anten­nas for mmWave tech­nol­o­gy in par­tic­u­lar are impor­tant, giv­en the rel­a­tive­ly poor range of the ultra-fast wire­less tech­nol­o­gy, with 5G phones gen­er­al­ly requir­ing mul­ti­ple mmWave anten­nas to ensure good con­nec­tiv­i­ty.

Apple is still decid­ing

It’s not final­ized that Apple will actu­al­ly use its own 5G anten­na for its 2020 iPhones. The com­pa­ny is appar­ent­ly con­sid­er­ing two designs: a thin­ner one using Apple-made anten­nas, and a thick­er one that would fea­ture Qualcomm’s.

Apple’s devel­op­ment of its own 5G anten­na sys­tem makes a lot of sense, giv­en that the company’s reliance on Qual­comm is like­ly to be tem­po­rary. Apple had only set­tled its ongo­ing law­suit with Qual­comm in the first place because its then part­ner Intel wasn’t able to pro­vide 5G chips for Apple in the time frame it want­ed — accord­ing to Fast Company’s source, Apple still feels it’s “get­ting screwed on roy­al­ties” in its deal­ings with Qual­comm.

Apple would go on to pur­chase Intel’s entire 5G modem busi­ness from it. This allowed Apple to take the ground­work that Intel had already done and con­tin­ue to build on it for ful­ly cus­tomized, in-house modems that could be designed from the ground up specif­i­cal­ly for future iPhones, iPads, and oth­er devices.

It may still be some time before that modem group is able to pro­duce a prod­uct on par with Qualcomm’s, but it’s almost cer­tain­ly on the hori­zon for Apple — and hav­ing its own cus­tom 5G anten­nas to go with those even­tu­al chips makes per­fect sense.

Pho­to by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

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