KGI: Apple to integrate faster circuit boards across its product lineup come 2018

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple will roll out the all-new flexible circuit board design which debuted in iPhone X across its product lineup come 2018.

In a note to investors seen by AppleInsider, Kuo writes that Apple is working with partner suppliers to integrate flexible printed circuit board design based on the liquid crystal polymer material across future iPad, Mac and Apple Watch models.

The analyst added that Apple is now working with manufacturer Career on circuit board designs for MacBook that will save space and improve internal data speeds, potentially enabling easy transition to the future USB 3.2 and Thunderbolt specifications.

The supplier is believed to be working on brand new LTE antenna designs for Apple Watch that integrate liquid crystal polymer as a base material versus the polyamide material used for the existing Apple Watch antenna design.

Some of the advantages of liquid crystal polymer include superior frequency attenuation, thermal performance and moisture resistance.

iPhone X features a flexible printed circuit board with what iFixit described as having “an unprecedented degree of miniaturization.” The iPhone X logic board is folded in half, with the layers soldered together.

This design results in a smaller board with about 70 percent of the footprint of the logic board in the iPhone 8 Plus model. Separated and spread out, it’s 55 percent bigger than the the logic board in iPhone 8 Plus.

In fact, it sports even more densely packed components than the tiny system-in-package in Apple Watch. The Apple Watch attaches over 30 individual components onto a single board that is then overmolded with a silica or aluminum composite resin (this is similar to the conventional integrated circuit packaging, but for an entire board).

Image: iPhone X logic board courtesy of iFixit