Apple’s 5G iPhone could still make its scheduled release date of late 2020, after Huawei said it was ‘open’ to selling its 5G modem technology to the California company.
Last week it was reported that Intel, Apple’s key modem partner, is struggling to meet a series of pre–release deadlines and may not have its 5G modem ready by the time Apple starts production on its 5G iPhone next summer.
Intel refused to deny the claims only saying it ‘plans’ to support a number 5G devices with its new XMM 8160 5G multimode modem in 2020.
The report led to claims from analysts that the 5G iPhone could be delayed until 2021. Apple is mired in a legal dispute with alliterative supplier Qualcomm and is unlikely to want to turn to major rival Samsung for help.
That’s where Huawei comes in. The Chinese smartphone maker makes its own internal components and has never sold them to other manufacturers.
However, a source close to the company said it would be willing to strike a deal with Apple.
New legal testimony has confirmed that Apple is looking to find a second supplier of 5G modems, under the codename Project Antique.
A deal with Huawei remains a long shot. The political implications would be explosive in the United States, where Huawei has been accused of using its mobile infrastructure for nefarious purposes. It has also been accused of stealing Apple’s trade secrets.
On the flip side, a tie up would give Apple a massive boost in China, where its iPhone XS has failed to capture the imagination.
Either way, a 5G iPhone is still at least 18 months away. Meanwhile, Samsung will release its Galaxy S10 5G later this summer, with the OnePlus 7, due out in June, also set to come with access to the very latest network speeds.