While its products aren’t often criticised for being sluggish, Apple’s 2018 lineup could get a massive speed boost thanks to some new circuit board tech.
Based on information from a recent investor note released by Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, 9to5Mac is reporting that Apple is looking to integrate faster and more versatile circuit boards into its Watch and Mac products specifically.
At the moment, Apple’s latest circuit board tech can be found in the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Both of the smartphones use a more flexible circuit board made from liquid crystal polymer in their antenna designs and the iPhone X makes use of it again for its TrueDepth Camera, with the benefit being high-speed and low latency data transfer.
Room for improvements
In the investor note from Kuo, it’s explained that Apple is working with manufacturer Career to integrate this circuit technology into future MacBook models in order to “address future hardware form factor design requirements.” Essentially, these circuit boards would save a good deal of internal space.
Apple could no doubt use this space to slim down the MacBook design even further, but it would also make it possible to adopt upgrades such as USB 3.2 and add further connection ports to the existing design.
As far as the Apple Watch 4 is concerned, Kuo says that Apple is also working with Career to integrate the new circuits into the watch’s antenna designs for LTE connectivity. This is likely to result in the same kind of improvements brought to the newest iPhones.
Liquid crystal polymer technology offers many advantages over other technologies when used in antenna design; not only will it offer more stable signal, it’s also heat and moisture resistant which makes it more suited to being worn in a variety of environments on the human wrist.
As beneficial as it is, liquid crystal polymer circuit boards are challenging to design and manufacture. As a result, Kuo suggests Apple’s competitors are unlikely to be able to integrate them until at least 2019 which gives Apple a very important year’s head start.
While new circuit boards don’t tell us much about Apple’s future product plans, they do give us a better idea of what it will be possible for the company to achieve in its next wave of products. If the reports do prove to be true, we could see far more fast and versatile Apple Watches and MacBooks in 2018.