The next iPhone will reportedly see battery cost reductions to offset pricey 5G upgrade

Apple’s upcoming iPhone 12 models launching later this year are expected to adopt cheaper, less complex battery technology in order to offset a pretty costly upgrade to 5G.

TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a report to clients, obtained by AppleInsider, MacRumors and 9to5Mac, that the cost of adding 5G to the 2020 iPhone lineup will be high:

  • Sub-6GHz 5G: $75-$85 per unit
  • Millimeter-wave 5G: $125-$135 per unit

In other words, adding comprehensive support for 5G networking to the next iPhone may cost Apple at least $200 in components alone, excluding research and development and other associated costs. Supporting both sub-6GHz and millimeter-wave radio technologies is necessary for the upcoming devices to support all 5G networks across the United States.

In order help keep the next iPhone’s bill of material under control, Kuo believes Apple’s management will implement redesigned battery technology in the iPhone 12 family. Specifically, the revered analyst is saying that Apple will decrease the number of battery board layers and shrink active cell components so they occupy less space.

But even though the addition of 5G networking is going to cost Apple dearly, the increased component cost apparently won’t be passed to the consumer, Kuo wrote. Apple may also save some money by not bundling a power adapter and EarPods in the iPhone 12 box.

Regulatory filings discovered in July suggest the new iPhones will se batteries with slightly lower capacity than the iPhone 11 models. Run time, however, should be unchanged or improved slightly thanks to power-friendlier components, like the power-sipping A14 chip.

AppleInsider has more:

Depending on handset size, this year’s cells are supposedly rated at 2,227mAh, 2,775mAh and 2,815mAh, compared to 3,110mAh for iPhone 11 and 3,190mAh for iPhone 11 Pro. The lone upgrade could be a 3,687mAh component rumored for inclusion in the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, with the spec making it slightly more capacious than the 3,500mAh version used in iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Kuo also wrote that the AirPods lineup will use the new, cheaper battery technology by switching to a system-in-package design for AirPods 3 in the first half of 2021.


Image: iPhone X battery courtesy of iFixit