Huawei Won't Help Apple Make 5G iPhones

During the Huawei Analyst Summit, the Chinese company confirmed that it is not in talks with Apple over 5G modems, putting to rest rumors that suggested that the Cupertino giant will procure modems from Huawei. The latest report comes a day after Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei said that the company is open to supplying 5G chips to Apple for future iPhones.

Huawei traditionally uses its home-brewed components for its own devices, and this gives the company a competitive advantage. Therefore, it came as a surprise when it was reported that the company is willing to make an exception for Apple. However, it has now appeared that Huawei's chip strategy remains unchanged.

Up until recently, Apple has been in a tight spot when it comes to 5G modems. Samsung has its Exynos 5100 modem ready for 5G connectivity on the Galaxy S10 5G, while Huawei’s Balong 5000 modem will provide 5G support on the Mate X. Intel, on the other hand, is behind on 5G work which means it can’t be relied upon by Apple for 5G this year.

Qualcomm has also made great strides in 5G and the company’s upcoming flagship chipset is tipped to come equipped with a built-in 5G modem. The chipmaker and Apple have been engaged in a legal battle since the past few years and the saga finally reached its climax yesterday when both the parties decided to drop charges against each other.

This decision is expected to prove to be mutually beneficial, as was indicated by the boost that Qualcomm’s stock received after the news broke. The chip manufacturer has now agreed to supply components to Apple in the future which means the future iPhones will most likely come equipped with its components.

Apple is apparently working on its modem as well but the company will most probably require a few more years to perfect its design. Previously, it was rumored that iPhones won’t support 5G until 2021. This wasn’t all that surprising, as Apple isn’t exactly an early adopter of new technologies but given the current state of the mobile market, it might not be a wise decision to sit out 5G. For its part, Apple hasn’t displayed any intentions of using Huawei’s components, which could partly be because of the ongoing rift between the U.S. and China.

MediaTek and UniSOC are also said to be developing their 5G modems but they might not be able to make the cut as Apple usually has strict requirements. Moreover, it is also not known when the two companies will release their 5G products.

Intel’s modems have nothing on Qualcomm’s and the company has been struggling to keep pace with its rival. The company has now announced that it is going to exit the 5G smartphone modem business. Apple usually splits components orders between two companies so it remains to be seen if it will get another company besides Qualcomm on board. Previously, it was reported that the company is in touch with Samsung and MediaTek about 5G modems but it is not known yet if the talks have progressed.

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Anam Hamid

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I have been writing on tech since 2017 and what started as a side gig has now turned into a profession that I am immensely passionate about. A computer science graduate by education, I also enjoy reading and baking.