Patently Apple was first in the Apple community to report on the riots that broke out at Wistron’s iPhone Plant in India last month and followed-up with three reports about the possible extent of the damage, Apple putting Wistron on probation and a possible middleman scam related to missing wages for employees. We’re now learning that Indirectly, Wistron has received some good news lately from Apple.
Today, a supply chain report out of Taiwan reveals that a company called Qiqi is in the process of receiving a large order for millimeter wave antennas for the iPhone 13 which could be signaling the expansion of this technology to more iPhone models in the US this year. Apple is also working with foreign telecom companies in the hopes of eventually expanding millimeter wave antennas to iPhones globally over the next few years.
According to the report, the Wistron Group invested in Netcom factory Qiqi and has now entered the iPhone supply chain for millimeter wave antennas for the first time, sharing with Japanese electronics giant Murata Manufacturing Co. this year.
Qiqi is an important layout of Wistron Group in the field of Netcom. Wistron holds approximately 22.6% of shares and is the largest single shareholder.
The large order of millimeter wave antennas for the new iPhone 13 series is the first time a Taiwanese manufacturer has supplied Apple’s antenna-related items that are critical to the quality of iPhone reception.
Qiqi’s chairman Xie Hongbo, who was once the CEO of Wistron’s NeWeb Corporation, announced at the law conference a few days ago that 5G-related product shipments will increase significantly this year, especially the US market where millimeter wave-related antennas are being used. It is optimistic that the revenue from 5G will account for a larger proportion of this year than in 2020. Two to three times increase, vaguely revealing that a large order is approaching.
An authoritative source said that compared to the current global 5G mainstream Sub 6, millimeter wave can also reflect the characteristics of 5G ultra-high speed, low latency, and wide connection. It is known as the “true 5G,” which is making Apple actively invest.
The millimeter wave iPhone antenna design is more complicated. Qiqi has been working in the millimeter wave field for many years, so Apple has come to cooperate with Qiqi. Qiqi’s supply of iPhone antennas is a major breakthrough in Taiwan’s Netcom industry.
Qiqi has made a breakthrough in the built-in antenna of laptops, with a global market share of as high as 35%, ranking the leader, and it is a big help for Wistron’s laptop OEM orders.
In the past, Wistron Group focused on assembly in the iPhone supply chain. Previously, it was assigned to Lixun’s Kunshan factory in mainland China and actively expanded its non-mainland iPhone production layout. As Qiqi enters the key antenna supply chain for the iPhone, it means that Wistron Group plays a more important role in the overall iPhone supply.
As governments and telecommunications companies in various countries successively open up 5G millimeter wave spectrum and build 5G millimeter wave networks, Apple continues to invest in related technology research and development. This year’s iPhone 13 series is expected to improve millimeter waves.
According to industry sources, Apple was actively looking for a second millimeter wave antenna supplier and Qiqi Queping was selected to win the iPhone 13 millimeter wave antenna order and share the order with Murata.
According to corporate analysis, Qiqi has good capabilities in antenna design, packaging, testing, modularization, and antenna modularization of micro devices. In addition, it cooperates closely with Qualcomm, including 5G equipment, 5G vehicles, and Wi-Fi 6, 6E products. The development and design of Qualcomm chips has also become one of the key factors for Qiqi winning the iPhone 13 millimeter wave antenna order.
Although its not likely that the MacBook Pro will offer 5G with a millimeter wave this year, Qiqi’s expertise with telecom antennas for notebooks could be something that Apple could take advantage of in the future. For now, Qiqi’s order from Apple are reportedly focused on iPhone 13 devices.