updated 10:40 pm EDT, Tue October 4, 2011
UBM estimates iPhone 4S costs on unveil
UBM Techinsights gave a preliminary cost breakdown of the iPhone 4S. Based on past history and estimates, it reckoned Apple's new phone would cost $203 in pure components for a 32GB version. The most expensive component would be the flash memory itself, at $38, followed by the 640x960 display ($31) and the dual-core A5 chip ($26).
Going dual-mode with both CDMA and GSM only cost Apple a $6 premium over the GSM-only iPhone 4. Apple also would have only paid $3 more for the eight-megapixel camera.
A similar breakdown showed that the cheaper 8GB iPhone 4 might be sold on considerably tighter margins. Although the A4 and other components cost less than they did when new, the phone was still expected to carry a minimum $156 price. Apple is still making a clearer profit on both after factoring in carrier discounts as well as its own extra costs, such as marketing and development, but is willing to sacrifice some profit for the $99 price.
Prices to make 16GB and 32GB versions weren't mentioned but aren't likely to reflect the $100 differences that customers pay.
The costs are preliminary and will have to be checked against real devices. They still help support Apple's decision to skip LTE and WiMAX 4G. For the same amount of space, HTC's Thunderbolt costs $262 to include an LTE chipset and bigger battery with a processor slightly slower than in the iPhone 4, no dual-mode, and with a lower-resolution screen. Current-generation LTE needs a secondary, discrete chipset.