In January, anonymous U.S. analysts at Detwiler Fenton postulated that Apple could save a few bucks on a low-cost iPhone by using a Qualcomm Snapdragon integrated processors that place the CPU and wireless processors on the same die.

“It is likely that the work with QCOM is being driven by AAPL’s concern regarding maintaining gross margins as well as the need to differentiate the product by performance,” the research firm (which shuns putting the spotlight on particular analysts) said in a research note. “AAPL would not want a value priced iPhone to offer the same kind of graphics and video support, processing power etc. that its premium priced device would, therefore a less powerful lower-end Snapdragon integrated solution would help segment the product.”

At the time, the idea of Apple using Qualcomm processors and not its own perhaps older-model processors seemed preposterous. Sure, Apple uses Qualcomm 4G radio chips extensively, but its own processors now power the ‘free with a plan iPhone 4′ and the prospect of reworking the OS to work with a new off-the-shelf Qualcomm processor instead of in-house solutions still seems extremely unlikely.

The rumor seemed to have died, but the ‘iPhone Math’ translation experts at the China Times republished it. The rumor was then picked up by Macotakara in Japan, and is now back stateside, but it is no more likely this time around.

In fact, the original analysts —with the statement  “AAPL would not want a value priced iPhone to offer the same kind of graphics and video support, processing power etc. that its premium priced device would, therefore a less powerful lower-end Snapdragon integrated solution would help segment the product”— seemed to have no knowledge of Apple’s wide range of A4, A5, and A6 processors or wide range of iPhones in which those processors currently reside.

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