The iPad Air has now been out for a couple of days, and IHS Suppli has got their hands on one to tear it down, and discover the components. According to their report, the iPad Air component costs begin at $274, which is $42 less than the third generation iPad. The costs go up to $361 depending on cellular connectivity, and storage size. To put the $274 in perspective, the new iPhone 5S components cost $199, and the iPad 3 is $316. It’s worth noting that the component cost is only part of the story of the total cost to Apple as it doesn’t take into account manufacturing, product development, sales, R&D, software development, patent licenses, marketing, or distribution.
The bill of materials is just for the actual parts in the device, and the highest individual piece of the iPad Air is the display at $90. The touchscreen components cost $43, the A7 chip is $18, and the flash storage chips range from $9 to $60 from 16GB to 128GB. The Elpida DRAM memory chips cost $10, and finally the Qualcomm cellular chip costs $32, and is the first Apple device to support every LTE frequency with a single combination of chips. There’s more that goes into the display, as the display uses just 36 LEDs to light the screen, compared to 84 in the previous generation. It’s also an all new IGZO display that offer over 50% improved power performance with enhancement to contrast, brightness, and reflectance. The screen itself is thinner, and it allows for a thinner battery helping bring the iPad Air down to just 7.5mm thick.
A lot goes into iPads as Apple needs to design the product, research new features, source the materials, set-up the manufacturing processes, design the software, license patents, align distribution, manage sales, and market these devices. Apple adds a lot to the $274 bill of materials for the iPad Air.