updated 09:30 am EST, Fri March 8, 2013
Would mark unusual course reversal for Apple
Apple is planning to use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in the low-cost iPhone, and manufacture it using TSMC's 28nm production lines, claims an industry watcher quoted by the China Times. The move would be unusual, since Apple currently relies on its own A-series processors for iOS devices, which are produced at a Samsung facility in Texas. The Times' report does say, though, that Apple will continue to use A-series chips in other devices.
There are also two Snapdragon series, the 400 and 800, which are 28nm-based all-in-one units that include cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Having a complete system-on-chip could save costs, especially since none of Apple's A-series options are similarly designed. Although some Snapdragon options could even include LTE support, the Times indicates that Apple plans to stick to 3G for the first generation.
Other companies tapped to help in the low-cost iPhone's production include Renesas, who will allegedly produce LCD drivers, and Toshiba, Elpida, Micron Technology, SK Hynix, and SanDisk, all of whom are expected to supply NAND memory. TSMC has been rumored as forging a deal with Apple, but until now it was typically assumed that the company would build A-series chips, both for the iPhone and the iPad.