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Friday, 25 January 2013 10:22

Apple might tap Qualcomm for cheap iPhone SoC

Written by Peter Scott



Could replace A-series SoC and discrete chips?


Rumours of a cheap iPhone for emerging markets are a seasonal affair and they seem to pop up practically every year, but this time around things could be different.

Quite a few reputable analysts now believe Apple will indeed come up with a cheaper iPhone, with a polycarbonate body and a bunch of cheaper components. But analysts from Detwiler Fenton are going a step further. They claim Apple will use a Qualcomm SoC in the new phone.

It sounds pretty plausible. Qualcomm has a wide range of top notch Snapdragon chips based on custom cores, and new parts based on Krait 300 and Krait 400 cores should appear over the next two quarters. What’s more, Apple already uses a number of Qualcomm components in the iPhone and going for a complete SoC solution would allow it to ditch consolidate three discrete chips into a single SoC, significantly cutting costs.

Detweiler believes the shift to a single Qualcomm cheap could help Apple shave off a few bucks from the BOM, while at the same time Qualcomm would get $10 to $15 per phone. Apple currently uses Qualcomm’s discrete modem in the iPhone 5, along with a Broadcom wifi/Bluetooth combo chip.

However, Apple did not use third party application processors since the introduction of the iPhone 4, based on the A4 SoC. The latest A6 generation features custom cores, much like Qualcomm’s Krait based chips, but there could be some compatibility issues. Apple’s A-series SoCs use Imagination graphics, while Snapdragons feature Adreno GPUs. The level of customization in both chips is another concern.

More here.

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