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Future 5G iPads reportedly set to get super-fast mmWave tech

iPad Pro (2018)
iPad Pro (2018) (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Advanced Semiconductor Engineering will reportedly help with mmWave5G for iPads.
  • It will also provide mmWave 5G for iPhones, too.
  • This according to "industry sources."

Apple has a new supplier and it's going to bring super-fast mmWave 5G technology with it, according to a new DigitTimes report.

That report has Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) joining Apple's list of suppliers, providing its "substrate-based FC_AiP (flip chip antenna-in-package) technology" for future mmWave 5G iPhones and iPads.

Industry sources said that one mmWave 5G iPhone will require 3-4 AiP modules, which may adopt the 1+2 or 2+2 format. The former will include one InFO_AiP module to be processed by TSMC already contracted to fabricate mmWave 5G iPhone APs and two FC_AIP modules by ASE, while the latter will equally cover both modules, the sources said.

However, despite InFO_AiP technology being able to facilitate slimmer devices, it does come at a cost that's up to three times that of FC_AiP. And for that reason it's believed that Apple will choose different modules depending on the use cases. iPads, for example, aren't as size-restricted so may make use of the larger option while also adding more of them. But ultimately it may come down to cost.

Supply chain sources confirmed that mmWave 5G iPads will be among Apple's new product roadmaps, and one such iPad will be fitted with at least one more AiP modules due to its larger area size than iPhone. The sources said mmWave 5G iPads are likely to adopt all cost-effective FC_AiP modules.

While it isn't mentioned which iPads would get 5G technology, it's probable a refreshed iPad Pro would be the first to make the jump from 4G. Especially if the more costly mmWave technology is used, as this report would suggest. The current 2018 iPad Pro is due a refresh and is rumored to be in line for exactly that this year.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.