There was an old saying "One will never be fired by buying mainframes from IBM". Using the same logic, this saying should be true: "Any Apple employee proposing the acquisition of Renesas Mobile should be sacked". In contrast, ST-E is a much more worthy buy.
I am not saying invest in, I am saying acquire, at least the modem capability.
They can continue to use Qualcomm basebands until such times as they have a better baseband and/or see an over-riding benefit from integrating their own baseband with applications processor.
The difference in graphics is that because Apple is dealing with an IP licensor it is already able to integrate graphics with CPU monolithically.
Don't forget that conversion from feature phone to smartphone is not only the fact of handset makers. When 3G/LTE coverage is not there or data subscription too expensive, feature phone stays the preferred choice.
One of the reason for Samsung's very high growth rate is the conversion of their 100s of millions feature phones to smart phones. And guess who is among the biggest beneficiaries of that growth? Very soon Samsung will likely have predictable new headaches -- China's OEMs on global scene.
"Universal" LTE capability is technologically quite complex and Qualcomm is probably generations ahead of its competitors... But certainly - one can speculate and hypothesize ...
BTW, unfortunatelly this fetaure phone conversion is NOT the case for Nokia
That may be so, for now.
But then you are only as good as the competition and paying somebody else for it.
And will Qualcomm offer to license the IP to Apple for integration in an SoC for 2014?
Maybe Apple has to seriously think about what to buy. WIth processor alone can't really beat Samsung well in the mobile market (not phone but the whole mobile computing). Buying baseband chip or special RF frontend are good direction. I'm not sure if it is really smart to buy either ST or Renesas but it seems there are really not many choices. Apple is losing quite much now so they really need to react much faster if they don't want to end up like Nokia.