The ultimate iPhone XS Max teardown reveals it costs $20 more to make than... iPhone X

The ultimate iPhone XS Max teardown reveals it costs $20 more to make than... iPhone X
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.

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.

source: IHS

Related phones

iPhone XS Max
  • Display 6.5" 1242 x 2688 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3179 mAh(25h talk time)



1. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Didn't expect those cameras and that beast of an SoC to be that cheap. Anyway, that 5W charger out of the box is stupid for such a great smartphone.

2. cocoy

Posts: 464; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

Yeah, compared to Qualcomn's 845 chip I think this is a lot cheaper.

8. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Android manufacturer's bought SD845 from Qualcomm, and Qualcomm order TSMC to make that SoC. Compare that to Apple who directly order TSMC to make their SoC. And it's up to Qualcomm about how much they want to charge for their SD845

14. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

I guess Joshua's article from a few days ago was really made up. Especially when he stated that it cost $443 to make the XS Max. Yet this article is now saying that it cost $390. I don't believe that cost either. If the iPhone 8 cost no more than $245 last year, then it's really hard to believe this year's costs. It's articles like these that are trying to justify and convince others why Apple is changing so much money for the new IPhones. Face it they are overpriced. Its why Apple makes so much profit.

3. cocoy

Posts: 464; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

Samsung is earning almost half of its cost. Samsung fans, you don't need to get mad or jealous if Apple sales went well because your favorite OEM is also earning from them.

7. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Why mad or jealous? I get more for what I paid on Samsung's product.

4. MarvzIsFallen

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

How about the cost of other miscellaneous?

5. zennacko unregistered

Apple makes a killing with memory upgrades :/

9. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

$40 for RAM and storage.. If they spend another $40, their XS Max base model could have 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. And they still get $669 profit from it. (or more, since in general 8GB RAM is cheaper than 2x4GB, so did the storage)

13. jack123

Posts: 278; Member since: Jan 07, 2013

If Apple offer 128gb phone, then 256gb will not sell at all. That’s selling tactics.

6. Whitedot

Posts: 857; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Here we go. "Most durable glass ever"

10. Heisenberg

Posts: 378; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

They intentiaonlly disabled comment section for the camera article which placed iPhone Xs and Xs max as the camera king despite losing out to the competition. The front facing camera is even worse because it adds automatic beauty mode by making pictures cleaner than it actually looks which makes it complete fake.

12. Whitedot

Posts: 857; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Indeed, there is something weird going on with front facing camera. unboxtherapy raised the issue. Not only that. Overnight 3/4 of all comments have been deleted on Xs review. PA editor's sweating hard to maintain censorship. They called it hate speech maintenance :)

11. cocoy

Posts: 464; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

With that costs, I find it hard to justify the cost of replacing the rear glass of this phone. As if you've just paid for another unit.

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