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Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 06:14 pm PT (09:14 pm ET)

iPhone 4S breakdown estimates same $188 cost as iPhone 4

A new teardown analysis of the iPhone 4S claims that the parts for the 16GB version of Apple's iPhone 4S cost $188, or just 50 cents more than the iPhone 4.

As noted by AllThingsD, IHS iSuppli conducted the breakdown to arrive at this year's numbers. The bill of materials for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB iPhone 4S models estimates costs of $188, $207 and $245, respectively. iSuppli's estimate for the 16GB iPhone 4 last year was $187.51.

According to the report, the iPhone 4S's dual-core A5 processor costs $15, while the new dual-mode Qualcomm chip brings the cost of the cellular chipset to around $14 to $15.

German chipmaker Infineon, purchased by Intel last year, lost out on the iPhone 4S. Since its baseband processor has been replaced by Qualcomm's offerings, the company now appears to have just one small part in Apple's new handset.

“It’s almost like Apple threw them a bone with a 50-cent part after they lost a much more high profile chip that cost about $10,” said analyst Andrew Rassweiler.

iPhone 4S


The 8-megapixel camera is believed to cost $17.60, though Rassweiler noted that tracing the part back to its supplier has proved difficult. A previous teardown discovered a Sony sensor, but Largan and Omnivision are also listed as potential suppliers.

The firm also discovered in the course of its breakdown that, at least for the model it had, Apple went with Hynix for its flash memory. It has been speculated that, due to its complicated legal dispute with Samsung, Apple has begun shifting component orders away from the South Korean electronics giant.

However, Samsung appears to continue to be the manufacturer for the A5 processor. “The markings are the same as what we saw in the iPad 2,” Rassweiler noted. The A5 may have helped Apple to cut down on the number of chips in its new smartphone, as noise-cancellation processing previously handled by a separate chip has been moved to the A5.

It should be noted, however, that Apple itself has derided the credibility of third-party BOMs.

"Let me begin by suggesting that you don’t put a lot of credence in these third-party reports that you see. It’s always amazing to me the cost categories and the components that never seem to make it into the reports," Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said last year when asked about the cost structure of the iPhone 4.

Also, iSuppli's estimates don't take into account business costs such as research and development, shipping and marketing.

The iPhone 4S is off to a fantastic start, selling a record 4 million in its first weekend of availability. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Tuesday that the device's launch was better than the company's "wildest dreams."

In fact, the handset is selling so well that the Cupertino, Calif., company is now requiring that potential in-store buyers make reservations online. Currently, all iPhone 4S models are listed with shipping estimates of 1-2 weeks on Apple's online store.

An earlier teardown of the iPhone 4S revealed a larger battery and the new baseband chip.