Apple iPhone 4S Cost $188 to Assemble 16GB Version: IHS Teardown

Apple's iPhone 4S cost $188 to assemble in its 16GB version, not including manufacturing expenses, according to research firm IHS.

Apple's 16GB iPhone 4S cost $188 to put together, excluding $8 in manufacturing expenses, according to a new teardown by analysis firm IHS. Moreover, while the smartphone greatly resembles the previous iPhone 4 in its exterior details, the inside apparently offers a host of new hardware.

Based on the teardown, the bill of materials for the iPhone 4S' 32GB version totals $207, and the 64GB version $245.

"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," Andrew Rassweiler, IHS' senior director of teardown services, wrote in an Oct. 20 research note.

Those changes include a "custom part from Avago," he added, "that helps give the iPhone 4S its unique capability to be used in multiple wireless systems globally, while still keeping costs down." The smartphone also contained a NAND flash memory device built by either Hynix (a South Korean memory chip manufacturer) or Toshiba.

Despite the massive legal war brewing between Apple and Samsung, the latter apparently contributed the A5 processor to the iPhone 4S. "Just as with the A4 used in the iPhone 4, the part appears to be manufactured by Samsung, based on die markings on the product," read the IHS research note.

The firm also dissected the device's 8-megapixel camera, new to the iPhone franchise. "The camera uses a backside illumination (BSI) image sensor that improves photo quality, especially in low light, but also adds cost to the system," the note said. "Sony was the supplier of the image sensor in the individual model torn down by IHS, but Apple likely is using a secondary source for this device: OmniVision."

Apple unveiled its latest iPhone, the iPhone 4S, Oct. 4. The following day, the company announced the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Less than two weeks later, the iPhone 4S managed to sell some 4 million units by the end of its first weekend of release, reaffirming the smartphone franchise's popularity in the face of rising competition from the likes of Google Android.

Apple's revenue during the quarter hit $28.27 billion, resulting in a net profit of $6.62 billion: a marked increase over the year-ago quarter's $20.34 billion in revenue and $4.31 billion net profit. Gross margins also climbed over the previous twelve months, from 36.9 percent to 40.3 percent.

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