Apple made some critical changes to the product design and parts of iPhone 5, including the faster applications processor, the larger display and the high-speed 4G LTE air interface. However, the smartphone does exhibit a great deal of similarity to iPhone 4S in terms of component suppliers, according to a new teardown report by IHS iSuppli Research.
Andrew Rassweiler, senior principal analyst for Teardown Services at IHS, has said that beyond the superficial resemblance between iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S in terms of component suppliers, there are some key modifications to iPhone 5’s product design and components that enable major upgrades that help improve user experience.
The physical teardown of iPhone 5 also confirmed the bill of materials (BOM) and manufacturing cost reported last week in another IHS iSuppli virtual teardown. As per the teardown report, the 16GB model of the iPhone 5 carries a BOM of $199.00, with the cost rising to $207.00 when manufacturing expenses are added in. For the 32GB version of the iPhone 5, the BOM cost increases to $209.00, while the 64GB version is estimated at $230.00.
Take a look at the preliminary iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S cost estimates below:
iSuppli said that iPhone 4S suppliers making a return engagement with the iPhone 5 include Samsung, Qualcomm, Murata, Dialog, Texas Instruments, STMicroelectronics, Cirrus Logic, Avago, Skyworks, NXP and AKM.
However, from the advanced $17.50 A6 processor manufactured by Samsung, down to the relatively simple $0.62 electronic compass from AKM Semiconductor, almost every part has been updated. Take a look at the key iPhone 5 vendors and parts below:
As listed above, new suppliers include SanDisk, which contributed the NAND flash memory in the specific iPhone 5 dissected by the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service. This is first time that SanDisk NAND has been found in an iPhone examined by the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service.
In the iPhone 4S teardown, the NAND supplier was Samsung. However, with the NAND component being a commodity part available from multiple suppliers, Samsung, Hynix and Toshiba also could serve as Apple’s sources for this memory.
Likewise, Elpida has replaced Samsung as the supplier of the SDRAM in the individual iPhone 5 analyzed by IHS. However, Samsung and Hynix could be supplying this widely available memory part. Compared to the iPhone 4S, the density of this part has been doubled to 1GB, up from 512MB, giving it a total cost of $10.45.
The battery in the iPhone 5 is supplied by Sony, a role taken by Amperex Technology in the iPhone 4S. The cost of the battery in the iPhone 4S is estimated at $4.99.
Another key change to the iPhone 5 is in its baseband processor. While Qualcomm remains the supplier of this critical component, the iPhone 5 integrates the company’s MDM9615M and RTR8600 parts; the 4S, in comparison, employed the Qualcomm MDM6610 and RTR8605 devices.
The new Qualcomm parts were utilized to allow support for the LTE air standard, which also had other implications for the iPhone 5 design.
“The support for 4G LTE in the iPhone 5 added a new level of complexity to the radio frequency (RF) front end, so much so that Apple had to create two different models of the iPhone to accommodate their wireless carrier partners,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “This represents a departure from Apple’s approach of offering only a single model for the iPhone 4S.”
“While most manufacturers make great effort to simplify designs by minimizing the total number of mechanical parts and fasteners in their products, Apple appears to be going in the other direction with the iPhone 5,” said Kevin Keller, senior principal analyst, teardown analysis, for IHS.
“The iPhone 5 incorporates even more mechanical parts than previous iPhone designs, resulting in a very complex assembly. But Apple can do this and still produce the iPhone 5 at such low costs due to its capability to leverage its vast army of low-cost labor,” Keller added.
Take a look key iPhone 5 features and specs below.
- Size: 4-inch screen
- Resolution: 1136 x 640 pixels
- Pixel Density: 326 ppi
- Display Type: IPS LCD
Processor & Battery
Chip: Apple A6
Speed: 1.2GHz (speculative)
Battery: 8 hours of LTE web browsing
Storage & Memory
Internal Memory: 16 / 32/ 64GB
RAM: 1GB (speculative)
MicroD card Slot: No
Size: 123.8 x 58.5 x 7.6mm
Rear Camera: 8 megapixel iSight camera with f/2.4 aperture and a hybrid IR filter
Front Camera: FaceTime HD front facing camera, 720p HD video
Data & Operating System
LTE and DC-HSDPA
Dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi support for a wireless experience up to 150 Mbps
OS: iOS 6