Apple's AirPods Pro technology could lead to longer-lasting 5G iPhones

AirPods Pro
(Image credit: Future)

Apple is looking to the AirPods Pro as inspiration for its next 5G iPhones, according to a report – and this could lead to longer battery life in future handsets.

The report by DigiTimes (via MacRumors) alleges that Apple will move to the use of system-in-package and "flexible printed circuit boards" – as seen in the AirPods Pro – to replace "the existing rigid-flex PCB solution" used in current iPhones.

The report backs up previous predictions by respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, in which he claimed "system-in-package (SIP), and substrate-like PCB (SLP), will create the required space for larger batteries".

Smaller, longer-lasting tech

According to electronics manufacturer Octavo Systems, system-in-package technology "integrates multiple Integrated Circuits (ICs) along with their supporting passive devices into a single package", as opposed to cramming lots of components into one piece of silicone.

In other words, it allows for product-makers to create smaller devices, and it's a technique that was used by Apple in its creation of the AirPods Pro – and it could allow Apple to fit larger, longer-lasting batteries in its next 5G phones. 

As MacRumors says, Apple isn't expected to use this technology in the upcoming iPhone 12, which is rumored to launch in September or October this year. SiP tech can be expensive, and Kuo has claimed that the battery board inside the iPhone 12 range will cost about half as much as the equivalent components carried by the iPhone 11 series. 

However, the technology could make an appearance in the rumored Apple AirPods 3. In a previous research note, Kuo alleged that Apple adopt a compact system-in-package (SiP) solution similar to the AirPods Pro, potentially leading to smaller, more compact true wireless earbuds that eschew the long ear stems seen on the original AirPods. 

The AirPods Pro are testament to just how much tech can be packed into a small build using SiP; they're are significantly smaller than the original AirPods, with shorter ear stems – that's in spite of the wireless earbuds packing in active noise cancellation technology and a new Dolby Atmos spatial audio feature, which requires an inbuilt gyroscope and accelerometer.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.