Now that the iPhone 5S is available for anyone to buy, research firm IHS Suppli has got their hands on one to perform a deluxe tear down of the device. Their analysis gives us a rough estimate of the component costs of the iPhone 5S, and they peg it at $199 for the 16GB model. The full report will be published tomorrow, but AllThingsD got early access today showing that at minimum, Apple spends at least $191 on a 16GB iPhone 5S, and $210 for a 64GB unit, with an estimate of assembly costing $8 to add to each amount. To put the $199 number in perspective, the iPhone 5 component cost was estimated at $207 last year, with the 4S at $188, 4 also at $188, 3GS at $172.46, 3G at $170.33, and the original was $226. Also, the iPad mini component cost is at $188, while the full sized iPad 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 phone, and for the 5S the highest individual piece is the display at $41, followed by the RF chips at $32. In terms of new pieces, the A7 chip is estimated at $19, while the fingerprint sensor is pegged for $7. The iPhone 5C received the same treatment, and its total component cost is estimated at $173 for the 16GB model. The iPhone 5C costs $26 less in components than the 5S, and that is why Apple didn’t just resell the iPhone 5. The most egregious aspect is that it normally costs just $10 for double the storage space in component costs, but Apple charges a $100 difference. It’s interesting that the fingerprint sensor costs just $7, though that doesn’t take into account the $356 million that Apple paid to acquire AuthenTec.
A lot goes into iPhones 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 $199 bill of materials for the iPhone 5S.