Apple iPhone 4S ripped apart

The analysts have had fun tearing an iPhone 4S apart, showing not only its entrails but the bill of materials (BOM) for the unit.

IHS said that the bill of materials amounts to $188 for the 16GB version, and Apple is playing the volume game here, because the retail price with contract for this number is only $199.

Margins for the 32GB and 64GB versions are much better, with the BOM for the former being $207 and its retail price $299. The 64GB version has a bill of materials of $245 and sells for $399, IHS said in its teardown.

In the process of breaking the phone, IHS also analysed the components used in its manufacture.  The 4S uses Hynix NAND flash memory – the analysts signal that in previous times, before the mobile patent wars, the NAND was Samsung manufactured. Apple must have run out of the tremendous stockpile it built up years ago.

Andrew Rassweiler, senior director, teardown services, for IHS, said the 4S is ringing in some changes: “Key among these changes is a custom part from Avago that helps give the iPhone 4S its unique capability to be used in multiple wireless systems globally, while still keeping costs down. In another surprise development, the 4S employs a Hynix NAND flash memory device. While IHS has already confirmed multiple suppliers for this part, it does mark the first time that IHS has identified a Hynix NAND flash in an iPhone, as opposed to devices from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. or Toshiba Corp. seen in all previous iPhone and iPad teardowns.”

Apple has a dual mode system to support different standards such as CDMA and HSPA.