Why it matters: Intel might deny it’s true, but Apple has reportedly lost faith in Chipzilla’s ability to deliver its 5G modems for the 2020 iPhones on time. Cupertino, however, could have an unlikely new source for its chip needs: Huawei.
A recent report claimed that Apple has “lost confidence” in Intel, which was the sole supplier of modem chips for last year’s iPhones. Most Android manufacturers are using Qualcomm’s hardware in their 5G phones, but Apple’s legal battles with the firm mean that’s not an option. With Samsung’s 5G solution being impractical and MediaTek’s chips less technically ready, it looks as if Apple might turn to an in-house alternative, though that could also mean delays.
According to Engadget, one answer may come in the form of Huawei. The Chinese giants is said to be open to the idea of selling its Balong 5000 modems, which will be part of the foldable Mate X, exclusively to Apple.
Such a deal would be beneficial for both firms: Huawei gets a lucrative new income source and a high-profile customer while Apple gets its 5G chips sooner. Additionally, such a partnership would likely improve Apple’s business in China, where iPhone sales have been falling in recent times.
The big obstacle, of course, is Huawei’s seemingly never-ending battles with the US government, which has long accused the firm of spying at the behest of China. Assuming there isn’t an outright ban, the animosity alone might not dissuade Apple from using its rival’s chips, but the potential PR nightmare would likely outweigh the pros of such a deal.
Neither firm has officially commented on the report, but you can file this one under 'unlikely.' Whether recently arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou's apparent fondness for Apple products has any influence on the situation is unknown.