Rumor: Apple to purportedly use Qualcomm's Snapdragon SoC in low-cost iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
An unverified report out of the Far East on Friday claims that Apple will use a version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon system on a chip in a much-rumored low-cost iPhone, with manufacture of the purported handset expected to begin in the second quarter.

Snapdragon
Source: Qualcomm


Spotted by Japanese blog Macotakara, the China Times report cited an unnamed industry watcher as saying that Apple plans to use Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC's 28nm process to build the cheap iPhone's Snapdragon SoC. If true, the switch away from Samsung's foundries would be a first for the Cupertino company, which has pushed increasingly further into chip design with its latest A6 and A6X processors.

Apple will supposedly continue to manufacture the A-series silicon used in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, as well as the A6 chips from the iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPad.

While suspicious, the rumor is not without merit, as two 28nm-based classes of Snapdragon, specifically the 400 and 800 series, offer on-board communications including a cellular modem, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. If Apple is indeed planning to launch a cheap handset in developing markets, the use of an all-in-one platform could save on component costs. Some Snapdragon iterations also come with 4G LTE compatibility, though the publication claims that Apple will stick to 3G for its initial low-cost iPhone.

Additionally, the Chinese publication said Renesas Electronics will produce the device's LCD drivers, while NAND flash memory will be sourced from Toshiba, Elpida, Micron Technology, SK Hynix and SanDisk.

Rumors of a Snapdragon-based iPhone first arose in January, with the firm's dual-core and quad-core SoCs cited as possible candidates for the as-yet-unannounced handset.

Most recently, well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple would introduce a low-cost iPhone boasting a hybrid fiberglass/plastic case this summer alongside the next-generation "iPhone 5S," though no mention was made of a platform switch.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member
    I don't see why Apple wouldn't simply reuse the A4. They could modify it if needed.
  • Reply 2 of 56

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by saarek View Post



    I don't see why Apple wouldn't simply reuse the A4. They could modify it if needed.


    ^ This. 


     


    The rumor smells like bullshit to me.


     


    But, if it's true,.... *cough* fragmentation *cough*. image

  • Reply 3 of 56
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    "Rumor: Apple to purportedly use Qualcomm's Snapdragon SoC in low-cost iPhone"

    That, and a sh!tload of duct-tape.
  • Reply 4 of 56
    cyniccynic Posts: 124member


    I believe all those rumours about a low cost iPhone are garbage. Just don't see this happening and Cook's remarks reaffirm this. Apple doesn't build garbage, Apple doesn't need developing markets, where people don't consume content and don't spend money on apps anyway, it is also the premium mentality that adds to Apple's overall image. I believe thinking that future generations that grow up in developing markets and get accustomed to Android or other platforms will stay loyal to those is simply wrong. I do believe people will actually want Apple products, when they'll be able to afford them. Destroying this by offering cheap plastic alternatives does nobody any good. And we all know the margins in the low end market anyway.


    At the end of the day, just look at how the iPhone 4S outsold even the Galaxy SIII, which is without a doubt THE Android flagship phone despite the iPhone 5 being available.


     


    We're probably going to see some new device category this year and this will be cheaper than a regular current generation iPhone. That's my two cents.


     


    Apart from this, even if they were to introduce something such as a low cost iPhone, they'd certainly use older generations of their A chip series, let alone for leveraging economics of scale on an even higher level than currently.

  • Reply 5 of 56
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,018member
    This looks more like an attempt to push the following companies stock up more than anything...

    Qualcom, TSMC, Renesas Electronics, Toshiba, Elpida, Micron Technology, SK Hynix, and SanDisk
  • Reply 6 of 56
    shompashompa Posts: 340member
    Apple don't want fragmentation. They also have special DSPs in their A class SoC.
    Its alas cheaper use their own design they using an outside partner.

    Most Android OEMs have to buy SocS. For example: The Tegra 2 cost 15 dollar to produce and was sold for 25. A5 cost 25 dollar to produce, but Apple could use 40% more SoC real estate. That was one of the reason why A5 blew the Android SoCs out of the water. (Neon SIMD, Dual channel DDR controller, faster GPU, special DSPs like "Apple visual processor" and the noise cancellation technique used for Siri).

    Digi/Trolling times should never be quoted. They are always wrong.

    If Apple wants cheaper SoCs: build an own foundry. Apple needs 70K wafer starts each month. Its insane! That would occupy a whole Intel state of the art fab. Why not buy one of Global foundries factories. Especially since AMD cut wafer orders by 50%. (or buy an Intel fab since they are 50% idle because they lost 30% market share to ARM)
  • Reply 7 of 56


    I agree that it's unlikely, but they're surely not going to reuse the A4 even in a cheap iPhone. Hell, even the A5 in my 4S feels rather choppy at times. They shouldn't scrimp on the phone's SOC, just give it a cheaper construction and a non-IPS screen to drive down the cost. 

  • Reply 8 of 56

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by saarek View Post



    I don't see why Apple wouldn't simply reuse the A4. They could modify it if needed.


     


    The A4 is a joke, even by low-end standards.

  • Reply 9 of 56
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,229member
    More continuously stupid rumors. The upcoming A series latest will be at 28nm from TSMC/GF and if they were ever to come in a lower power setting it will be for an upcoming AppleTV, not a budget phone.

    The upcoming A7 will continue to expand on Apple's custom SoC and not a licensed direct ARM design.

    These rumors are just brain dead.
  • Reply 10 of 56

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Parkettpolitur View Post


    I agree that it's unlikely, but they're surely not going to reuse the A4 even in a cheap iPhone. Hell, even the A5 in my 4S feels rather choppy at times. 



    You must be using it wrong. iOS devices don't do "choppy". Ever.

  • Reply 11 of 56
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Youarewrong View Post


     


    The A4 is a joke, even by low-end standards.



    Yes, but they could modify it. Nothing wrong with my wife's iPhone 4 on iOS 6. Sure the base A4 is getting long in the tooth, perhaps an A4X could be produced, or more likely they'll simply reuse the A5.

  • Reply 12 of 56
    I hope apple doesn't put out a cheaper phone made of junk, that would be a bad my opinion.
  • Reply 13 of 56
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Parkettpolitur View Post



    just give it a cheaper construction and a non-IPS screen to drive down the cost. 


     


     


    And this is why the whole low cost iPhone doesn't excite me one bit.  I know I'm not the intended customer, but I hope Apple does something unexpected and not just a cheap plastic phone with a crappy screen.

  • Reply 14 of 56
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,265member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


    And this is why the whole low cost iPhone doesn't excite me one bit.  I know I'm not the intended customer, but I hope Apple does something unexpected and not just a cheap plastic phone with a crappy screen.



    You are not the intended customer.


     


    The savings here would be huge, and iOS would presumably run out of the box on Snapdragon - which is ARM7 compatible. You just have to look at iSuppli to see how much the extra chips are costing Apple. Wy wouldn't they use this in a low cost phone?  As for the non-IPS screen I believe that is what the iPod touch uses, I don't notice a difference. In fact I don't notice the retina difference all that much,

  • Reply 15 of 56
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,789member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by asdasd View Post


    You are not the intended customer.


     


    The savings here would be huge, and iOS would presumably run out of the box on Snapdragon - which is ARM7 compatible. You just have to look at iSuppli to see how much the extra chips are costing Apple. Wy wouldn't they use this in a low cost phone?  As for the non-IPS screen I believe that is what the iPod touch uses, I don't notice a difference. In fact I don't notice the retina difference all that much,



     


    Well its just the fact that Apple is going to make something really cheap, using cheap parts. This isn't what Apple does. Apple is a premium brand and using cheap parts to lower the cost isn't going to increase the value of Apple's brand. This would be like BMW or Lexus making a cheap car made with very cheap parts just to serve a lower end market. This whole cheap phone doesn't make any sense to me and I think is taking Apple in the wrong direction. 


     


    Next, people are going to want a cheap iPad, cheap Mac (complete solution), etc. If you can't afford an iPhone then oh well. You can't always get what you want. 


     


    To my knowledge, the iPod Touch uses the same screen as the iPhone which is why you didn't notice any difference. 

  • Reply 16 of 56
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,265member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by macxpress View Post


     


    Well its just the fact that Apple is going to make something really cheap, using cheap parts. This isn't what Apple does. Apple is a premium brand and using cheap parts to lower the cost isn't going to increase the value of Apple's brand. This would be like BMW or Lexus making a cheap car made with very cheap parts just to serve a lower end market. This whole cheap phone doesn't make any sense to me and I think is taking Apple in the wrong direction. 


     


    Next, people are going to want a cheap iPad, cheap Mac (complete solution), etc. If you can't afford an iPhone then oh well. You can't always get what you want. 


     


    To my knowledge, the iPod Touch uses the same screen as the iPhone which is why you didn't notice any difference. 



     


    This premium brand thing is largely overdone. It's a middle income brand. They don't produce yachts. Apple engages in mass market sales to normal people ( in the West). The market is not the same as the sales of BMW - about 50% of the US has an iPhone for instance.


     


    To increase its market share to normal people in the developing world (not the poor in the developing world)  it needs cheaper options. We already know they can produce cheap iOS compatible devices and sell them at $199 - the iPod touch. Thats last years model, but they have previously sold the present years model at that price. (its the one without IPS, and the one I have).


     


    Its cheap, but its not "cheap" - in the sense of being shoddy. I love the touch in fact. Were the iPhone as light, that would be my iPhone.


     


    (In fact - as with the mini - thats Apple's biggest problem with a cheaper iPhone, they need to make the higher priced one compelling. A bigger screen perhaps?).


     


    in any case a $199 is cheap. Apple does cheap iOS devices. 

  • Reply 17 of 56
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    I agree that it's unlikely, but they're surely not going to reuse the A4 even in a cheap iPhone. Hell, even the A5 in my 4S feels rather choppy at times. They shouldn't scrimp on the phone's SOC, just give it a cheaper construction and a non-IPS screen to drive down the cost. 

    Even if that were true (and my 4S is plenty fast almost all of the time, certainly never 'choppy'), it doesn't really change anything. So Apple could use the A5 in a low cost phone. Or wait until the A7 is out and use the A6. The cost difference between their own A-series chips and buying from someone else is probably miniscule, so I doubt that they'd go outside for their CPU.
  • Reply 18 of 56
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,819member

    Quote:


    Apple plans to use Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC's 28nm process to build the cheap iPhone's Snapdragon SoC



     


    That 28nm process is still new and would actually increase the costs until all kinks are worked out and they start getting high yields. If anything they'll use a larger process that is putting out excellent yields (cheaper components).


     


    Personally, I think the report misunderstood what Apple is actually doing; I'd be willing to bet that Apple is licensing the radios from Qualcomm and adding them directly onto the A7 SoC as Qualcomm did on their Snapdragon SoCs.

  • Reply 19 of 56
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,819member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by asdasd View Post


    You just have to look at iSuppli to see how much the extra chips are costing Apple.



     


    iSuppli does not know the cost of Apple's SoCs.

  • Reply 20 of 56
    maccentricmaccentric Posts: 263member
    mjtomlin wrote: »
    That 28nm process is still new and would actually increase the costs until all kinks are worked out and they start getting high yields. If anything they'll use a larger process that is putting out excellent yields (cheaper components).

    Personally, I think the report misunderstood what Apple is actually doing; I'd be willing to bet that Apple is licensing the radios from Qualcomm and adding them directly onto the A7 SoC as Qualcomm did on their Snapdragon SoCs.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this and it is exactly what came to mind when reading the article. There is prescedent for Apple licensing and including other vendor's technology on their own chip. They licensed and included an Audience controller on the A5. Tim Cook and Steve Jobs have said repeatedly that they want to own and control as much of the strategic underlying tech as possible, so I don't see them going away from designing their own SOC for any iOS device.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6247/audience-earsmart-not-in-upcoming-iphone-suggests-new-soc
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