Apple Inc. (AAPL), QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM): This iPhone Rumor Keeps Coming Up. Does It Have Legs?

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That’s three times in three months that investors have heard talk of a Snapdragon-powered iPhone. While I’ve also entertained this idea before in the past, I concluded that it simply didn’t make sense considering how far Apple has come with its in-house chip engineering and design. I’ve shot down this speculation in the past, and I’ll shoot it down again.

It’s true that using a Snapdragon with an integrated baseband, such as the older MSM8960, could translate into cost savings by consolidating two chipsets into one. The newest Snapdragon 800 series could get the job done, but is likely too expensive since it’s QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM)’s latest and greatest, defeating the purpose of cost reduction.

The idea of using third-party chip vendors simply doesn’t make strategic sense after Apple has come so far with its A-chips. Older A5 or A6 processors could easily be used at low cost, and even if that were slightly more expensive than a Snapdragon solution, it would be worth it since Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) gets to further build out its A-chip brand.

The last thing Apple wants is to be associated with competing devices, which would be inevitable if it used a Snapdragon since many Androids and all Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phones use QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM)’s chips. Doing so would be a clear strategic back step from its preferred trend of vertical integration.

Perhaps Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) did indeed perform some testing with Snapdragon iPhones, and this is where the rumors came from… but don’t expect any to ever actually ship.

The article This iPhone Rumor Keeps Coming Up. Does It Have Legs? originally appeared on and is written by Evan Niu, CFA.

Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple and Qualcomm. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Qualcomm.

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