According to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who now toils for TF International, the 2019 Apple iPhone models will use a different set up of antenna technology. The 2018 iPhone handsets, which include the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, employ 6 Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) antennas. Kuo's report to clients was seen by AppleInsider, and the analyst is telling clients that next year's iPhone units will keep a pair of LCP antennas and use Modified Polyimide (MPI) technology for the four remaining antennas.
The analyst lists several reasons for the change. Kuo notes that LCP antennas are hard to manufacture and are brittle. MPI antennas are easier to produce and have higher yield rates. If Kuo is right, and Apple switches to a mix of 4 MPI antennas and 2 LCP antennas for next year's iPhones, shipments to Apple of LCP antennas will decline by more than 70% during the second half of 2019.
Apple originally went to LCP antennas with 2017's Apple iPhone X. Adding MPI antennas would expand the number of antenna suppliers used by Apple from two to five. The company likes to add suppliers because it gives it an advantage when negotiating pricing, and allows Apple to have alternate suppliers in case there is a shortage of certain components.