The iPhone is the most profitable, and ultimately the most popular, product in Apple's portfolio, based on revenue and sales. Even with a sales shortfall, Apple still sold an impressive 26 million iPhones in the third quarter. Research firm IHS has come up with the cost of manufacturing the iPhone 5, and, unsurprisingly, Apple's estimated margins are astounding.
The cost of the new iPhone 5 sets Apple back between $207 and $238, according to IHS, depending on whether the model is the 16 GB, the 32 GB, or the 64 GB version. At $649 for the 16 GB model, Apple is generating $442 per phone in profits, excluding outside expenses. While Apple's spend on marketing, advertising, employees, and other expenses, is unknown (Apple doesn't break down its cost of sales), the tech giant's could be generating margins of at least 68% on the iPhone 5.
This is pretty impressive, especially when you think about all the new features on the iPhone 5 such as LTE, an in-cell display and a new A6 processor.Apple's component costs include, but are not limited to, parts from SanDisk (SNDK), Qualcomm (QCOM), Broadcom (BRCM), and lest we forget, Samsung, which is a "frenemy." "While most manufacturers make great effort to simplify designs by minimizing the total number of mechanical parts and fasteners in their products, Apple appears to be going in the other direction with the iPhone 5," said Kevin Keller, senior principal analyst, teardown analysis, for IHS. "The iPhone 5 incorporates even more mechanical parts than previous iPhone designs, resulting in a very complex assembly. But Apple can do this and still produce the iPhone 5 at such low costs due to its capability to leverage its vast army of low-cost labor." The ability of Apple to lead the smartphone industry in margins has been one of the principal reasons shares are up more than 70% year-to-date. Margins for older iPhones, such as the 4 and 4S, are likely higher, as costs have gone down. Now you have an idea how much money Apple is making when you buy the iPhone 5. Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock. -- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Commodity_Bull
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