iPhone 5c (blue, iFixit teardown 004)

Following iFixIt’s ritual teardown of Apple’s new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c and a detailed chip analysis of the former by Chipworks, research firm IHS Suppli ran their spreadsheets to guesstimate just how much Apple may be paying for the parts.

According to a research note, the pricier top-of-the-line iPhone 5s commands a bill of material of $199.

Its polycarbonate plastic brother costs less to build, with part costs pegged at $173. The full breakdown is right after the break…

AllThingsD has managed to get hold of the IHS iSuppli report a day early.

The crux:

According the findings of an IHS report coming tomorrow (but shared with AllThingsD today), Apple spends at least $191 on components to build a 16-gigabyte iPhone 5S.

The cost rises to $210 for a 64 GB unit. The cost of assembly adds another $8 per unit, bringing the range to between $199 and $218.

These costs only cover parts and assembly and exclude manufacturing, distribution, advertising, packaging, research and development, royalties and licenses and so forth.

As you know, Apple sells the unsubsidized iPhone 5s for $649 to $849, depending on storage capacity. The off-contract iPhone 5c is a $549/$649 value for 16/32GB model. Despite charging an extra $200 for a 16-to-64GB storage bump, in reality the extra flash storage sets Apple back just $19.

The iPhone’s four-inch Retina display assembly costs a whopping $41 in parts.

Other cost-saving measures, according to iSuppli:

Apple seems to be spending a lot of time and money combining RF chips. Where other phone companies would be using whatever chips its various vendors sell off-the-shelf, Apple seems to be pushing its RF suppliers to do things they don’t do for anyone else.

The iPhone’s wireless internals are sourced from a number of companies, including Qualcomm, Skyworks, Avago, RF Micro Devices and Triquint Semiconductor.

The iPhone 5 supported no more than five LTE bands. The 5s and 5c can support as many as 13, and that’s unique. Unlike other phones designers, Apple has spent a lot of time collaborating with the RF chip companies to find novel solutions that its competitors don’t have.

iSuppli notes that both new iPhones use the same unique combination of RF chips at a combined cost of $32. By the way, iSuppli’s estimates are for the entry-level 16GB iPhone 5s/5c models.

iSuppli last year estimated each 16GB iPhone 5 cost $199 to build.

iPhone 5s motherboard (A7 chip, iFixIt 001)

The $26 difference between last year’s iPhone 5 and this year’s iPhone 5c stems from Apple’s unmatched economies of scale: it’s had a full year to learn how to build the iPhone 5 and is now now able to keep costs at a minimum by perusing the iPhone 5’s components for the iPhone 5c.

It also blows my mind that sophisticated parts for the top-line iPhone 5s cost just $26 more. Keep in mind that this estimated difference covers the cost of the new 64-bit A7 chip, the M7 motion coprocessor, upgraded camera hardware, dual LED-flash, Touch ID fingerprint sensor and more.

Speaking of which, iSuppli pegged a Touch ID cost at just seven bucks. The fingerprint sensor is likely built by AuthenTec engineers that Apple acquired last year. As for the Apple-designed, Samsung-built A7 chip, it costs an estimated $19, a $6 premium over last year’s A6 found inside the iPhone 5c.

Oh, and just as we suspected, the A7 chip has a faster LPDDR3 RAM versus the 1GB LPDDR2 in the A6 package (these memory chips are supplied by SK Hynix, Elpida and Samsung).

Image top of post via iFixIt.

  • Marius Schär

    I’ll just build one my own 😛 where can I get the parts?

    • Ricky

      yea and you can use “bootcamp” to use Android or pressed home button for 5 seconds during boot and choose iOS hahahaha

      • Marius Schär

        😀 hahaha

      • Pitchy

        Do you know how truly awesome that would be? If you could really dual boot between Android and iOS! That way I could keep the great build quality of the iPhone and then use Android for when I want to play Ingress and customize the hell out of my phone… and go back to iOS for some of the apps I truly love. Best of both worlds!!!

      • not a spark

        Or an iOS emulator that works perfectly on android

      • Pitchy

        I would be happy with it going both ways. iOS emulator on Android or Android emulator on iOS. Hell, for fun, I would like to even load up a virtual machine running Windows Mobile 8 😀

    • AltF5

      If I could buy an 16GB iDevice and then pry up the Toshiba memory NAND module and replace it with the 128GB one, I would do it in a hearbeat.

    • Casey H.

      Keeping in mind that the reason those parts are so cheap is because they use millions of them.

  • Blue Tran

    The going rate they pay overseas electronic manufacturing labourers is horrendous…pay them like $5/week?? How are those people going to survive on that kind of wage? Y’all should watch a doc about it. It’s eye opening I tell ya.

    • Rowan09

      Where did you see this? I’ve seen stories on the laborers from the media and I’ve never heard of $5/week. I don’t believe there is any minimum wage in China but according the multiple reports I’ve read Apple is one of the highest paying coveted jobs so I don’t know about $5/week.

      • AltF5

        I think he is talking about iFactory on ABC news.

      • Rowan09

        Ok thanks I’ll check it out. Not surprise though I remember when America had people assembly cars and they made great salaries then machines took over the manufacturing and people lost jobs and ghettos were formed due to poverty. America doesn’t and will not do this kind of labor so overseas is the only option when trying to maximize profits. America needs to promote companies staying here.

      • Antzboogie

        He is talking about Foxconn and other Apple factories they have netting around their factory lile a circus so people cant commit suicide when they jump off the buliding.

  • DunedinEagle

    Having just ordered a 64 gig 5S this makes me a little sick to my stomach…

    • Rowan09

      Why? The price is $210 for parts not the total price it costs to get the product into your hands. The rule of thumb is to mark up at least 50% so I’m not surprise.

    • To this price, add the shipping costs, box, printing, advertisement, patents, royalties to use proprietary technology, R&D, iOS and all the services that are free to us but not to Apple…and many other things.

      The profit margin its not that big, it’s almost the same form other companies.

      The only thing I blame Apple is not having the same price around the world, giving to the carriers all the freedom to overcharge the phone. In my country a locked iPhone its much more expensive than a unlocked phone in the US.

      • Rowan09

        I agree they should charge the same price but is it them or the phone companies doing it?

      • John Sklikas

        Neither, just that countries with no Apple Stores need resellers and they buy from Apple, hence they have to increase the price to make profit. Secondly the taxes are higher in countries like Greece that also has no Apple Stores.

      • Rowan09

        Oh ok.

      • Phone companies, mega stores like Fnac, Worten… they are free do charge the price they want. its crazy because you can see iPhone prices from 900 euros to 2000 euros…

        It’s not fair. And its bad for Apple too, because if the marketshare in Europe (and I believe in some latin american countries) it’s not bigger it’s because of this big problem.

        And then you have companies like sammy, that are very active in this counties and sell Galaxy phones at 490 … 590 euros and the carrier locked versions much more cheaper.

        No wonder why apple have a bad reputation, when we talk about prices.

      • Rowan09

        Oh wow maybe I should be selling iPhones to the UK then for a better price than these thieves.

      • Pitchy

        The shipping, box, printing, R&D are exactly the same for the 32gb model as it is for the 64gb model. The only difference is the flash memory and we know damn well that going from 32 to 64 is not a $100 upgrade in terms of manufacturing costs.

      • mrgerbik


  • AltF5

    This is what makes me the most infuriated with the flash memory, because the price step from 16GB to 64 GB flashdrives on Amazon or Walmart is $10 per power of 2. From 64 to 128 is a more understandable $20 to $30 increase. But for Apple to mark it up by $90 for storage space which we all run out of because we add large apps, videos, music, documents, podcasts, offline caching, etc to our devices, it is just insane and is one of the biggest marketing gimmicks I have ever seen… and yet it works. I want at least a 32GB iDevice with whatever I purchase. Apple is the gatekeeper to its technology, so when it finds a feature that sells (disk space), it will mark it up like gold. It explains why apple provides no support for adapters like plugging in a flash drive or SD card :/. Wi-Drives are our best alternative, but until their apps, UI, and functionality get “smarter” and more apple-like, their use is limited and sacrificing. Darn you Apple on creating such great devices, and making storage size sell at premium! I wonder if the iPhone 6’s 128GB version (assuming here) would be $150 more (instead of just 100 more) than the 64GB one…

    • Rowan09

      You’re missing the point the storage capacity is just to make more money since they have to spend on other factors not listed in the article. $210 is not the total amount it costs to get you the phone in your hand, they have labor, R&D, shipping costs, taxes, licensing fees, etc as stated in the article.

      • AltF5

        But I mean, shouldn’t the non-contract based “full” price of the iPhone be enough to cover that?
        849 – 218 – 19 = 612
        (19 for the cost apple pays for the difference between 16GB and 64GB toshiba NANDs)

        It is really necessary to turn $19 in $200 profit for what the customer pays?

        If so, then why is is necessary to punish the users that want their phone to be more than a phone (users that use 32 and 64 GB flavors) by having them cover these “additonal” costs by 100 to 200 more dollars (and not the 16GB users?).

        It just seems like unfair price gouging 🙁

      • I think the main reason it’s because people wouldn’t buy the 16GB model, if the difference was so low.

        This price difference it’s almost the same in every brand that have 16GB and 32GB models…

      • AltF5

        Agreed. I honestly believe Apple should off a 64GB and 256GB. Then you can do a 100 price difference. Don’t offer 3 (or 4 sometimes) with 100 span between. That price is only resonable for a large enough gap, as the powers of 2 increase. For 4x the storage than 64 GB I would happily pay 100 (or even 200.. maybe) more than the baseline. But 64GB should just be the starting point. That way its not a “everyone will always buy the highest one” because the highest may just be too much for some. In today’s world of Apps, I can download 60 apps and be full (depending on your use cases of course). Forget music, the OS, each app’s data, flash drive uses, etc.

      • Yeah, totally. But 128GB and more I think those NAND memories are very expensive even to Apple. That’s why we didn’t see yet a 128Gb iPhone or even an iPad. And maybe the market for those models are very low, and manufacturing speaking, that could be also expensive to Apple or other brand.

        I really would like to know the sales numbers for all models.

        But we can take Samsung example. They don’t have any 128Gb model and even the Galaxy S4 had the 64gb version delayed. And I say this because they manufacture their own NAND chips.

      • Rowan09

        While I would love to see a cheaper price instead of a $100 which everyone does besides Apple it’s just a way to pay for all the extras besides the hardware and remember the phone companies have to make money as well. They do it to charge customers more since they pay a premium for each phone. It’s capitalism bro, but this is America the greed capital of the world.

      • Pitchy

        I think the point he was making that you missed is that for the flash memory chip, it is not $100 to go from 32gb to 64gb. They cost very close to the same price to make. But Apple is charging way more for the bump up to 64gb from 32gb.

        Just like the new iMac lineup. Going from a 3.2ghz i5 to the 3.4ghz i7 chip is a $200 upgrade. If you were to buy the desktop CPUs, there is diffently not a $200 price gap between the two. But Apple picks these price points at nice easy numbers like $100, $200 or $150 as in the Nvidia upgrade. Nothing that is more in line with real world prices like $39 or $57.

      • AltF5

        Correct. Although CPU-wise i5 vs i7 can indeed be that much in some cases (but I would have to compare the specs and prices). Flash memory though… come on. It’s not like this is reinventing bit ordering in an HDD, or we are asking for the size of an SSD.

      • Rowan09

        I understand what he’s saying but what I’m saying is its a way to bump up the price not because it costs significantly more for the part but because they need something to be able to raise the price. By the way all companies do the same thing so it’s not an Apple tactic. It’s always cheaper to build a computer instead of purchasing one but labor, etc is included in the price. Apple is charging $100 not only for storage upgrade its to differ all of the costs outside of the hardware is what I’m saying.

    • FOFF

      i just want 128 gigs is all

      • AltF5

        Me too, but not for $300 more than 16GB

  • Jonathan Talbot

    But that’s a really stupid thing to say,….. i mean the materials may cost that much but not the whole making part of it. and the fingerprint for just $7 bucks??? the amount of research that had been put into making it cost a lot lot more than that… sorry but this estimate is i’m sure very far off the actual cost price!


  • bene

    this is like eating in a restaurant vs cooking ourself

  • FOFF

    yeah am sure apple is reaping massive economies of scare profits on these

  • @sexyhamthing

    Scumbag apple 199 dollars to build
    sell for 600