Hardware researchers say Apple’s just-released iPhone 4S costs $203 to build, providing similar ‘evolutionary’ advances seen when the tech giant jumped from the iPhone 3G to 3GS. The 32GB iPhone 4S will cost $749 before customer subsidy.
Each retina display in the iPhone 4S costs $31, while the A5 processor tacks on $26 to the build cost, according to researchers at UBM TechInsights. UBM said the iPhone 4S is a “moderate improvement” over the iPhone 4, noting the handset includes the A5 processor, 8MP camera, longer-lived battery and a “world phone” supporting both GSM and CDMA technology. Although some consumers came away disappointed Apple did not introduce more revolutionary changes, such as smaller form factor or larger display, the hardware research firm called the evolutionary changes “par for the course for Apple.”
In a statement, UBM TechInsights Vice President of Technical Intelligence David Carey said the iPhone 4S’s hardware advances are similar to earlier incremental design changes. “Just as we saw a modest technology bump from the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 3GS, Apple is adopting the same model of iterative improvement and incrementalism as they gear up for the iPhone 5 platform.” By making only small changes to the hardware, the iPhone designers can concentrate on software improvements, such as voice-recognition, iCloud and a better digital image processing.
“The software experience – enabled by ‘good-enough’ hardware – is arguably what customers care about most in the end,” Carey said.