Could Huawei be Apple’s 5G saviour?

Apple has boxed itself into a corner over 5G and it’s possible that smartphone rival Huawei could provide an unlikely escape route.

This is pure rumour-mongering at this stage, but sometimes it’s fun to speculate. Such substantiation as there is comes from Engadget, which has chatted to someone who reckons they know a thing or two. Their Deep Throat says Huawei is open to flogging its 5G chip to Apple, which is noteworthy because it was previously intended solely for use in Huawei phones.

The Balong 5000 was launched at the start of this year amid much confident posturing from Huawei. That represented a pretty good effort, in principle, from Huawei but at present we have no way of knowing how it compares to market-leader Qualcomm in terms of real world performance. Even this thorough rundown of the 5G modem scene is none the wiser.

An even greater mystery is the matter of why Huawei would throw Apple a bone in this way. Some companies, such as Samsung, have a sufficiently clear separation between major business units that one can work with companies that are bitter competitors of another, as it has done with Apple. Huawei doesn’t seem set up that way, however, which would make such a decision a broadly strategic one.

The answer, presumably, would be that Huawei values growing the overall 5G market above the doubtless schadenfreude it would derive from Apple’s late entry into it. The launch of a 5G iPhone would be a major boost to global consumer 5G demand and, since Apple would presumably get there eventually anyway, Huawei might think it’s better to make sure that demand boost happens ASAP and trouser a nice lot of component revenue while it’s at it.

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