iPhone 4S BOM Is $188, Says IHS

Marketing intelligence firm pinpoints new key components

A new teardown analysis by IHS iSuppli says that although the iPhone 4S may have disappointed on the outside, it is on the inside that the new device includes “a wealth of innovation.”

Not that iFixit hadn’t already revealed all this to the world, but IHS also comes with the bill of materials (BOM), as well as a more detailed look at some of the stuff that hadn’t previously made it in any iPhone.

For example, there’s a new wireless chip with a unique custom module from Avago Technologies Ltd. IHS also notes the first use of Hynix Semiconductor Inc. NAND flash memory chips.

“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.

“Key among these changes is a custom part from Avago that helps give the iPhone 4S its unique capability to be used in multiple wireless systems globally, while still keeping costs down. In another surprise development, the 4S employs a Hynix NAND flash memory device,” said Rassweiler.

After checking with the components’ vendors, the marketing intelligence firm found that  the entry level iPhone 4S with 16 GB of NAND flash memory costs around $188 in parts.

The additional $8 cost for assembly brings the total manufacturing price to $196. UBM TechInsights had previously estimated the BOM at $203.

With the exception of having more NAND flash, the other iPhone 4S models are identical to the baseline version. In that respect, the 32GB model carries a BOM of $207, and the 64GB version costs $245 to make.

As usual, IHS asks readers of its report to note that their teardown assessments are preliminary in nature.

IHS says their estimated BOM reflects only hardware costs. Other expenses such as software, licensing, and royalties, are not included. In other words, Apple pays a tad more for each iPhone than what this report says it does.

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