Not long after the iPhone 5 was announced, an estimate came through suggesting that the iPhone 5 only cost around $167 to build. Obviously – like the most recent bill – this didn’t include research and development costs, marketing, manufacturing or shipping costs. iSuppli estimates a figure much closer to $200. $207 to be exact – for the 16GB model. The 32 and 64 GB models cost $217 and $238 respectively.
As you would expect, the tendency is for each new model to be more expensive to produce than the last.
“With the base model carrying a $199.00 BOM, the iPhone 5’s components are expected to be slightly more expensive compared to the iPhone 4S model,” said Andrew Rassweiler, senior principal analyst, teardown services, for IHS. “The low-end iPhone 4S with the same memory density as the base-model iPhone 5 carried a BOM of $188.00, according to a preliminary estimate issued by IHS in October 2011. While the price of some components, such as NAND flash, has fallen during the past year, the iPhone 5’s overall BOM has increased mainly because its display and wireless subsystems are more expensive compared to the iPhone 4S.”
These are just estimates, but sadly it’s all we have to go on. Saying that, this figure is much more likely than the sub-$170 estimate mentioned earlier. With the improvements and complexities of manufacturing the new design, and extra materials used for the larger display, there’s no chance it would be cheaper than the 4S, especially considering that handset design was already over a year old when it was launched.