The Teardowns and Cost Benchmarking Intelligence Service from IHS Markit is the gold standard when it comes to bill-of-materials (cost to make) estimates for popular electronics, and it just came out with their report for Apple's newest iPhones.
Their first teardown analysis of the iPhone X
revealed that its parts amount to about $357.50 in total for Apple when buying in bulk, and afterward IHS Markit came up with a very similar number - $370.25 - including the box contents, and costs of assembly. The most expensive part in the iPhone X
is Samsung's 5.8" flexible AMOLED panel and its accompanying paraphernalia like the Force Touch sensor, polarizer, and cover glass. The package amounts up to the whopping $110 for the privilege to turn blueish at an angle. We kid, but about $70 of this tag
goes directly to Samsung, which might explain why it was sad when the X didn't sell as predicted
, and it had idling screen factory capacity
for the better part of this year.
An iPhone XS Max in 'exploded' view
That same IHS teardown procedure has been applied to the iPhone XS Max
now, and, surprisingly, the components inside were found to be just $20 more expensive than the one in the iPhone X at launch. Granted, parts fall in price with time, but in the Max we have a new A12 Bionic
chipset, and a giant 6.5" OLED display, made by Samsung. This only comes to show that Apple's negotiations with Samsung
to lower the price of its panel supply, might have been fruitful.
Surprisingly enough, though, the next most expensive part that goes into an iPhone XS Max
production is not the dual camera set, the L-shaped battery pack, the memory, or the blazing new 7nm chipset, but rather the rear enclosure. The reinforced glass and the stainless steel frame with the accompanying coatings, antennas, connectors and wireless charging
coil cost much more than the aluminum alloy unibody that Apple used so far in previous iPhone iterations, to the tune of $71.50 to assemble and polish in three colors.
That's more expensive than the rear of the iPhone X and explains why Apple charges $599
to take out the offal of the XS Max, and replace the whole enclosure if you shatter the rear glass for some reason - it literally has to assemble the phone anew. Unfortunately, IHS disassembled the cheapest 64GB option of the Max, so we can't really tell what markup does Apple place on flash memory for the 256/512GB models.