More Claims of Apple Using Qualcomm's Snapdragon Chips for Lower-Cost iPhone

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Earlier this year, analysts from Detwiler Fenton claimed that Apple's rumored lower-cost iPhone would use a Snapdragon chip from Qualcomm rather than one of Apple's own A-series chips, arguing that the ability to integrate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi directly into the main chip would allow Apple to save on costs.

    China Times (spotted and translated by Japanese blog Mac Otakara) now cites an unnamed source making the same claim. The report says that TSMC has been contracted to produce the Snapdragon chip using its 28-nanometer process.

    The report also suggests that another cost-saving measure for the low-cost handset would be to offer 3G only, rather than LTE. There are separate versions of Snapdragon with 3G and LTE, giving Apple the option of either mobile data technology. From a Google translation of the original China Times article:
    As we noted when this rumor surfaced the last time, Apple would seem much more likely to simply use older generations of its existing chip lineup in a cheaper iPhone in order to save on costs, and reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that Apple will do exactly that by using the current A6 chip in the lower-cost iPhone while moving on to a more powerful A7 chip in the iPhone 5S.

    Article Link: More Claims of Apple Using Qualcomm's Snapdragon Chips for Lower-Cost iPhone
  2. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    Is this a (Qualcomm) development board!?
  3. Mr Fusion macrumors 6502a

    Mr Fusion

    May 7, 2007
    There's already a lower-cost iPhone. It's called the iPhone 4S.

    There's an even cheaper option. It's called iPhone 4.

    These claims are Page 2 garbage. Stop feeding the troll analysts. :cool:
  4. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009

    Maybe they will do this, likely they would use it for the first generation, create their own A7 with these functions built in for the iphone 5s and when the iphone 6 and the second gen of the cheaper iphone come out they use the A7 in the second gen and leave qualcomm out at that point. The first gen will have LTE though but it will likely be limited to only the LTE that they use in China and if the americans get the phone it will only have access to the 3G network so they can use it as a way to prevent americans from getting a cheaper phone
  5. Tiger8 macrumors 68020

    May 23, 2011
    Are we going through this again? One is 1.5 years old, the other is almost 3 years old.
  6. Rocketman macrumors 603


    It would be disappointing to see them make a 3G only phone. The chips are about the same price and having the protocol there when you need it is a value proposition.

    If Apple were to do an A6 I would hope/think it is a die shrink to improve battery life.

    I am not a prospective customer for the low cost iPhone.

    I agree with the poster that said it might be TD-LTE only for China.

  7. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    Uh...that's why they are cheap.

    What's more expense Apple to completely design a new lost-cost iPhone from scratch, get new machines, research materials OR have Apple sell an iPhone 4 at a reduced price?

    I still don't get how a new low-cost iPhone (that will have a slower processor and only 3G) would be cheaper than the already mass-produced iPhone 4. But then again, I'm not an analyst.
  8. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    If I recall correctly all of Qualcomm's current products are being made at TSMC's 28nm process. So Qualcomm ordering some new varriant made on that process is non-news. It is up there with the sky is blue.

    For every Snapdragon there is a corresponding "modem only" part that that does all of these radio combos. Combining WiFi/BT might be new but would not be a surprising move. Eventually Qualcomm is going to collapse all the radios in to one chip Celluar/GPS/Wifi/BT .

    Unless Apple is going out of their way to do a "F. U." to Samsung, this makes very little sense. It wouldn't be surprising if there was a Snapdragon version in a lab somewhere at Apple but this "ramp up" thing could just be the normal Qualcomm revision for this years phones. Last year's used their radios too.
  9. jowie macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2004
    London ish
    What would be the difference between a low-tech new iPhone and an old iPhone?
  10. ipedro macrumors 68040


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    So essentially this will be a slower iPhone running on the same iOS as the faster iPhone 5s. This means giving its users a slow and frustrating experience. I don't buy it. Apple wouldn't find it worthy to tap into a new market if that means making its introduction to new customers a painful experience.

    If Apple indeed gets into a cheaper market, they'll do it without sacrificing the basic user experience and instead doing away with small luxuries like a metal case and thin design.

    But all of this is unnecessary really. Apple needs only to enable iMessage voice and in that one action, cheap iPods and iPads become the cheap iPhone and gives Apple full control over the experience without telco contracts. This is an attractive option for parents and budget conscious customers. Its data only and contract free nature really does play into the demands of the low end of the market.
  11. dennno macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    A new low-cost iPhone makes sense. Yes there's the iPhone 4, 4S, (or even the 3GS). But those are old models and they won't have the same perception of quality as a brand new designed iPhone, perhaps that's what Apple is going for.
  12. Rogifan macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    Sigh. They're not cheap when you buy outright without carrier subsidy.
  13. twigman08 macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2012

    I don't see why that matters? The iPhone 4 is even still a very good smartphone and would more than likely be just as good as any other cheaper iPhone they would produce. I still use an iPhone 4 and I am a tech geek. It still works flawlessly!

    Though yes I will admit that these phones still aren't "cheap" when you buy them outright. That is more than likely the biggest problem with them.
  14. numlock macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    exactly. i look at the prices and think its not worth it to "save" a few dollars. its a much much worse investment
  15. jowie macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2004
    London ish
    Current iPods lack the hardware needed for phone-style voice calls. Microphone and speaker placement, proximity sensor etc. Besides, how useful would this be for children and parents? They wouldn't be able to make emergency calls, and would have to be within a wifi network in order to call home.
  16. dennno, Mar 8, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013

    dennno macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    This is a bit of an extreme comment. It's as if every person buys a phone to play Infinity Blade II. Many consumers that would buy this low-cost iPhone are moving from even slower phones. The assumed target customers would likely just use their phone for you know ... calling people, SMS, basic phone functionality.
  17. jowie macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2004
    London ish
    So, strip the casing off an old iPhone 4 and put on a newly-designed, plastic case.

    Job done?
  18. carl0sian macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2011
    Agreed! By the time 5s comes out, iPhone 4 should be $100-$200 retail :apple:
  19. Abazigal macrumors 604


    Jul 18, 2011
    So Apple's strategy is to mirror what android phone makers are doing?

    Sounds more like a jibe at Android phones? Hey, the only way we can make a cheap phone is by copying what you are all currently making! :p
  20. szw-mapple fan macrumors 65816

    szw-mapple fan

    Jul 28, 2012

    But many people desire the latest and greatest. Even if internals are a bit old(4 and 4s era chips) it will be more attractive with a new case and a new name, and a "new device that just came out" will certainly be more popular than a 3-year-old phone.
  21. dennno macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    Well except the internal hardware is old and won't be able to support all the functionality of the current/next iOS, this is probably one of the key reasons they're making one. Apple is quick to dump older hardware if it can't support new OS features.
  22. Squilly macrumors 68020


    Nov 17, 2012
  23. MRU macrumors demi-god


    Aug 23, 2005
    Very good news, hopefully it will be the newer Snapdragon 600 variants rather than the earlier...
  24. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The problem is that Apple can't keep playing this game forever. The iPhone 5 is harder to manufacture. The physical tolerances are getting to the limits of what workers can do at extremely high volumes. The never ending quest for thinner and harder to make is at fundamental conflict with larger production volumes. "Older is cheaper" is going to start to matter less and less as the phones are harder to make.

    Apple needs a product that is designed from the start to be made at the volumes they will need to grow. The are starting to high the law of large numbers. It is going to be harder and harder to grow at double digit rates at the price points that they are at. Both the manufacture quantities in those ever larger numbers and get the price low enough to generate larger demand ( pre-paid ).

    The iPad split into iPad and iPad mini. The selling "last year's" iPad 2 is likely going to get dropped as soon as mini's production stabilizes. The iPod evolved from just classic into shuffle , mini , iPod Touch sized products with different price points.

    It doesn't have to be a "low quality" phone to be less expensive. Just easing a bit off of "thin as possible" is all that is required. Kuo's numbers (see link at start of the thread) are for a phone that roughly as thick as the iPhone 4 but probably easier to assemble and has a few less more expensive "value add" sensors on it ( fingerprint reader). they can play the "older" game with the sensors and Flash size without cracking the size down every year.
  25. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    Do you find the current iPhone 5 slow? I don't think the A6 in a plastic case would be compromised experience at all even when the A7 is released. Apple has already put a last generation chip into the iPad mini and sales are just fine.

    Some version of an "iMessage Voice" would be great--but I really doubt the carriers would allow such a device soon.

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