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The chip that will power Huawei’s Mate X will be unveiled before the iPhone 11 launches

Published Aug 23rd, 2019 8:22PM EDT
Mate 30 Pro Specs
Image: Chris Smith, BGR

Huawei last year unveiled the Kirin 980 just a few days before Apple launched the iPhone XS series and its 7nm processor. At the time, Huawei made a big deal about launching the first 7nm mobile processor in the world, although it’s Apple’s A12 that was the first one to ship to consumers.

Huawei will follow a similar script this year, with the Kirin 990 processor that will power the Mate 30 Pro and Mate X foldable expected to be announced just a few days ahead of the rumored iPhone 11 launch.

Like last year, both Huawei and Apple are expected to introduce silicon built on new process technology, 7nm EUV, with TSMC reportedly handling orders for both Kirin 990 and A13 chips.

But there’s going to be a huge difference between these processors, and that’s 5G support. The Mate X, which was delayed to November, and which is going to get the new Kirin 990 chip, according to new reports, will support 5G out of the box. But a version of the Mate 30 Pro should also launch with 5G components inside, including Huawei’s 5G modem and antennas, if we’re reading the teaser that Huawei posted online correctly.

There’s really no point teasing 5G for the Kirin 990 unless the upcoming flagships would both support the new wireless standard. The iPhone 11 models, meanwhile, will not have 5G components inside, with Apple expected to launch a 5G iPhone next year. Other Kirin 990 details were not provided in the teaser, other than a launch date for the chip. That’s September 6th, which means Huawei will unveil the new Kirin family member at IFA 2019. That’s just four days ahead of the rumored September 10th iPhone 11 launch date.

Little else is known about the Kirin 990 at this time, but we’d expect it to be based on ARM’s latest Cortex-A77 spec. Also, it’s unlikely for the Kirin 990 to top Apple’s upcoming A13 chip in benchmarks and real-life tests, but we’ll have to wait for the Mate 30 Pro and iPhone 11 to find out for sure

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.