According to an early take on the bill-of-materials cost for the new iPhone 3G, its actual cost could be close to half that of the original Apple iPhone. Granted, this won’t entirely support margins in the face of price cuts, but it means margins would be better than many think.
Here’s Portelligent’s take on the topic:
Carey of Portelligent said several factors make the iPhone 3G potentially much cheaper to build than the original iPhone.
"I’d suspect the collective volume, learning and engineering changes to the display would mean that the whole touch screen assembly might be about half the $60 or so we estimated for Gen1 a year ago," Carey said. "In addition, the 8 Gbytes of MLC NAND is today around $20 compared to the $50 that might have been the case in June 2007," he added. Carey estimated Apple may have shaved another $25 off the bill of materials costs based on changes he observed in a teardown of the iPod Touch.
Those changes are only slightly offset by new costs for the iPhone 3G. Carey said the additional cost of an HSDPA chip set are only about $15 plus another $5 for the GPS chip. He also noted that the $100 price increase for a model with 16 Gbytes flash adds to the profit margin because the additional memory chips probably cost Apple only about $20.
Netting out all the changes Apple may have had a gross profit based solely on cost of hardware for the original iPhone of $229 and profits of just $99 for the iPhone 3G. "It’s always important to point out that hardware BOM costs do not capture many other important facets of product cost such as development costs, software costs, licenses and marketing," he said.