iSuppli Publishes iPhone 4S Cost of Parts

IHS/iSuppli has taken an iPhone 4S apart, found a wealth of innovation and listed the Bill of Materials (BOM), that is, the cost of each component. The total comes to US$188 for a 16 GB model, and that number is very close to the BOM for the iPhone 4.

One item found was a new wireless module from Avago Technologies Ltd that allows the 4S to be used in global wireless 2G and 3G systems. Also seen was the first use of a Hynix Semiconductor Inc. NAND flash memory, a notable departure from Samsung as Apple’s traditional NAND flash memory supplier.

“While the iPhone 4S shares many common design elements with the two iPhone 4 models already on the market, the new device’s status as a world phone has resulted in fascinating design and component changes,” said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director, teardown services, for IHS.

The most expensive single component listed is the Mechanical/Electro-Mechanical system at $33. That includes the display and touch screen. The least expensive component is the battery at $5.90.

4S BOMSource: IHS iSuppli, October 2011

In another notable move, a Qualcomm baseband processor makes its appearance. “Qualcomm obviously is a big winner in the 4S, with company now taking sole ownership of the baseband processor position with its MDM6610 device,” according to IHS senior analyst Wayne Lam. “While the Qualcomm MDM6600 was in the CDMA version of the iPhone 4, the Intel (formerly Infineon Technologies AG) PMB9801 was used in the HSPA model. In the iPhone 4S, Qualcomm no longer has to share the iPhone 4 baseband design win with Intel. It will be interesting to see how Intel responds in terms of winning back this socket in the next design cycle.”

Despite Apple’s branching out with various suppliers, the A5 CPU has markings that suggest it is still made by Samsung.

For those who have been reluctant to pay the additional $100 or $200 to get a 32 GB or 64GB model, it is interesting to note that Apple’s incremental costs are $19.20 and ($76.80 - 19.20) $57.60 respectively.