Engadget have reported that Huawei are open to selling their processors and modem chips to Apple. The Chinese company develop their own chips, and given the ongoing lawsuit with the U.S. government, a sale would certainly be surprising.
Huawei developed a 5G Balong 5000 chipset, but, as with the company’s processors, have so far refused to supply any components to third-party companies. That said, Huawei’s mood may be changing as they are said to be “open” to selling the 5G chips. However, they would only be willing to sell to Apple.
Such rumours suggest that Apple is struggling with the release of 5G. Apple plan to introduce iPhones capable of supporting 5G technology in 2020, however, Apple’s current chip partner, Intel, might not be able to have its 5G LTE chips ready by that date.
The legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm is tense, thus Apple is unlikely to use Qualcomm chips. This means Apple find itself in a difficult place – talks between Samsung and Mediatek have also taken place, but it remains unclear whether Apple will opt for this route.
Of course, Apple have started work on its own LTE chip designs for iPhones of the future, but such technology is unlikely to be ready until 2021.
Engadget highlight that Huawei are far from known for its chip sales, and earlier this year, a Huwaei representative claimed that 5G Balong chips are for Huawei’s internal use only. Admittedly, Huawei’s Balong 5000 would be suitable for Apple devices with support for sub-6 and mmWave 5G networks along with backwards compatibility with LTE networks. However, it’s unclear whether Apple are interested in Huawei’s technology.
The relationship between Huawei and Apple is strained, and the Chinese company are embroiled in tensions with the government. This means that the likelihood of the two companies affiliating is relatively low. Huawei has been accused of using “dubious tactics” to extract trade secrets from U.S. companies, and Apple is one of them.