Apple's iPhone 3G S dissected: What's the real cost?

The 16GB iPhone 3G S may actually be a better deal than you'd think

Apple's iPhone 3G S is the talk of the tech world this week. While some folks were disappointed a cheaper iPhone didn't debut at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, the 16GB iPhone 3G S may actually be a better deal than you'd think: The phone, according to a new analysis, costs Apple nearly US$179 to make. It retails for US$199.

iPhone 3G S Cost Breakdown

The iPhone 3G S cost breakdown comes courtesy of iSuppli, an electronics research firm based in California. The iSuppli team tore apart the iPhone 3G S (or iPhone 3GS, depending on whom you ask). It then estimated the value of each of its components, taking into account both the costs of the raw materials and the associated manufacturing expenses.

Interestingly, the iPhone 3G S, according to iSuppli, costs only about US$5 more to make than its predecessor, the iPhone 3G (8GB version). The official total for the 3G S was US$178.96; for the 3G, it was US$174.33. Those totals don't include expenses such as software development or packaging and shipping.

Here's how Apple can afford it: The service provider, iSuppli says, ends up paying far more for the devices than you do -- because it knows it'll make up the difference with its service contracts. This is part of a "common wireless industry practice of subsidizing the upfront cost of a mobile phone and then making a profit on subscriptions," explains iSuppli Principal Analyst Andrew Rassweiler.

iPhone 3G S, Part by Part

Wondering which parts of the iPhone are the biggest money-eaters? Wonder no more. The iSuppli team ranks the following five iPhone 3G S components as being the costliest within the device:

1. Flash memory (Toshiba): US$24.00

2. Display module (Toshiba): US$19.25

3. Touch screen assembly (Toshiba): US$16.00

4. Application processor (Samsung): US$14.46

5. Baseband (Infineon): US$13.00

You don't have to stop there, though: We've included iSuppli's complete breakdown below for those of you craving more complete knowledge of your iPhone's innards. Just make sure you don't accidentally drop your iPhone in excitement; that, as we learned yesterday, can be big trouble.

Connect with JR Raphael on Twitter (@jr_raphael) or via his Web site, jrstart.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleiPhone 3G SiPhoneiphone 3g

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

JR Raphael

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?