Apple's iPhone 5: What does it cost to make?

Published Sept. 20, 2012

Apple's basic new iPhone costs the company just over $200 to make, according to a preliminary component report from analysis firm IHS iSuppli.

The materials in the 16GB model of the phone, the firm said, cost Apple $199 while manufacturing shakes out to about $8 per phone. The iPhone 5's materials come to a slightly higher total than the iPhone 4S. Andrew Rassweiler, IHS's senior principal analyst for teardown services, said that the lowest-end iPhone 4S had a bill of materials of $188.

The 32 GB version costs Apple $209 to make, while the 64 GB is estimated to cost $230. With carrier subsidies, the iPhone 5 retails at $199, $299 and $399. While there's no unlocked version of the iPhone 5 for sale, carriers list the full prices of the device at $649.99, $749.99 and $849.99 without a contract.

The phone's costliest component, unsurprisingly, is its screen. The screen is almost always the most expensive part of a phone, and the new iPhone has a particularly sophisticated panel that integrates the touch sensor and the display panel. And, of course, the iPhone 5's display is a half-inch larger than the screen on the iPhone 4S. It costs Apple around $44 per phone.

Another part of the new iPhone that makes it more expensive for Apple to produce is the inclusion of LTE chips, which the firm said added $10 to the cost of the phone's cellular components.