The 2021 Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference is upon us once again, opened up with eye-catching animations followed by CEO Tim Cook and SVP Craig Federighi showcasing the seamlessly synchronized features across devices, all the while updating various operating systems, including iOS, macOS, iPadOS and watchOS. But who is behind the making of these delicate gadgets?
What’s inside the iPhone, literally?
According to industry insiders, Apple’s new iPhone lineup will look similar to last year’s coming in four sizes, and carry the A15 processor manufactured by TSMC with 5nm process and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X60 chip manufactured by Samsung’s 5nm process and will simultaneously support both Sub-6GHz and the mmWave radio frequency bands. The mmWave-supportive devices will adopt System-in-Package (SiP) to integrate RFFEM and the Antenna.
mmWave is coming to market
The next-gen iPhone 13 will be put on the market by the second half of 2021. While only 13% of the iPhone 12 models support the mmWave technology and are confined to the US, that figure is set to raise up to 60% for the new iPhone 13, reaching between 8,800 to 9,000 units and will be expanded to European countries, Japan and Australia, as more major markets commercialize the mmWave 5G network, according to industry sources.
The new Apple Watch 7 will continue to adopt SiP modules, which is outsourced to Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Inc. (ASE Group) for packaging and testing as well as Kinsus Interconnect Technology Corp. being one of the suppliers for the bismaleimide-triazine (BT) substrates.
IC substrate supplier and ASE Group are the mmWave beneficiaries
Though the millimeter-wave bands roughly fall around 26GHz, it still ranges across different regions. Consequently, supply chain sources reveal that Apple’s self-designed Antenna-in-Package (AiP) modules used in the mmWave supportive devices will be increased from three to carrying four of them.
Industry sources believe Apple’s AiP module OEMs including ASE Group and Kinsus will be the major beneficiaries accrued from more mmWave-enabled iPhones. These players are said to take up two-thirds of the SiP packaging or BT substrate orders included in the making of AiP.
iPhone 13’s AiP module supply chain is the same as last year’s, aside from Taiwanese suppliers, there remains Singaporean STATS ChipPAC, and the BT substrate is supplied by Korean SEMCO and LG Innotek.
Will the Covid outbreak get in the way of new iPhone productions?
We’re only months away from seeing the new iPhone becoming a reality, what’s worth noticing is the current covid outbreak in Taiwan has sneaked into the electronic supply chain which may potentially lead Apple to stock up inventories earlier in avoidance of an undersupply.
Fubon, an investment research institute, estimates yearly iPhone sales will reach 220 million units with a yearly increase by 8%, among which the new iPhone 13 series alone will take up 75 million of them. Taiwanese suppliers including TSMC, ASE Group and Pegatron Corp., etc. will likely gain momentum.