Apple said to be using Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC in upcoming budget iPhone

Qualcomm Chips

If Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and oh, I don’t know, about a dozen other outlets are to be believed, Apple is going to introduce a lower-cost iPhone this year. It’s said to feature a hybrid metal/plastic shell, and retail for less than $300.

Outside of those few details, though, we know very little about the handset. But a new report out of China this morning allegedly has new intel on the device, claiming it will use a Qualcomm-made SoC and go into production next month…

Highly-regarded Japanese Apple blog Macotakara points to the China Times report (via AppleInsider):

Snapdragon has reportedly received orders for the production of processors to be used in the cheaper iPhone version. And it seems to start production by the second quarter of 2013.”

The report goes on to say that Apple plans to use TSMC’s 28nm process to build the Snapdragon SoC. And if true, this would be the first time that the Cupertino company didn’t go with Samsung—a move that’s been rumored about for several months.

Admittedly, China Times doesn’t have much of a track record with Apple intel. It chimed in on the bigger-iPhone-is-coming theory earlier this year with its “iPhone Math” report. But we haven’t seen anything that would boost their credibility.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard mention of Snapdragon SoCs though. Back in January, another report suggested that the 400 and 800 series of the chip, with integrated 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, would make a perfect fit for Apple’s budget handset.

But regardless of what chip it’s going to use, it certainly looks like the long-rumored low-cost iPhone is on the way. Thus far, everything we’ve heard points to a release alongside Apple’s next-gen flagship iPhone, the 5S, which is expected to land this summer.