Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Virtual teardown puts Apple's iPhone 3G margin at 56%

June 24, 2008: 8:06 PM ET

Even though none of the teardown shops has yet to get its hands on one of the new iPhones, we now have two estimates of how much the 8GB model costs Apple to build.

The first, from Austin-based Portelligent, put the Bill of Materials alone at $100. (see here)

The second, issued Tuesday by iSuppli in El Segundo, CA, is more detailed and probably more accurate. As shown in the chart below, iSuppli came up with a BOM of $126.84 before $9 in manufacturing costs and $37.16 in unspecified "other costs" brought the total to $173. (link)

[E-mail subscribers click here to see the chart.]

Also not included in iSuppli's $173 total are an estimated $45 in royalties that Apple must pay to Qualcomm (QCOM) and others (see here) and fees due Hon Hai (Foxconn), Apple's Taiwanese manufacturing partner.

Still, Apple has managed to build the second-generation iPhone for 23% less than the first one, by iSuppli's calculation, while selling it to the carriers for roughly the same price.

iSuppli estimates that Apple (AAPL) is collecting $499 per phone from the carriers ($199 sale price plus a $300 subsidy), for an effective margin of 56%. Other estimates put the subsidy in the $325 to $350 range, which would push the markup even higher.

Below the fold: Commercial Times' best guess of who is supplying the parts listed above, as translated by DigiTimes.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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