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The research firm iSuppli asserted Tuesday that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) generates a 55% gross margin on the 8 GB iPhone, with materials and manufacturing costs of $265.83 on each $599 phone. Those costs do not include royalties and logistics expenses, so the actual margin is likely to be somewhat lower.

The firm said that Infineon (IFX) contributed $15.25 worth of parts, including the digital baseband, radio-frequency transceiver and power-management devices, “providing much of the core communications capability” in the iPhone.

National Semiconductor’s (NYSE:NSM) contribution is “relatively small,” iSuppli said, providing the serial display interface, which costs about $1.50. Still, iSuppli said it was “an important design win for National, which has never had a part in an iPod.” According to iSuppli, the chip uses National’s Mobile Pixel Link standard “which the company has been attempting to promote for use in mobile devices.

TPK Holding of China made the display module, a part with an estimated cost of $27.

The touch-screen display comes from multiple sources, including Epson, Sharp (OTCPK:SHCAY), Toshiba (OTCPK:TOSBF) and Matsushita (NYSE:MC). The screen cost is estimated at $24.50.

Samsung produces the ARM processor in the iPhone, with a cost estimated at $14.25, as well as NAND flash memory and DRAM. There is $24 worth of NAND in the 4 GB version, $48 worth in the 8 GB version. The cost of the SDRAM chip in the phone is $14. In total, Samsung has $76.25 worth of chips in the 8 GB phone, or about 30.5% of the hardware cost.

Other companies with parts in the phone include Wolfson, which makes the audio codec; CSR, which makes the Bluetooth chips; and Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL), which produces the WiFi baseband chip.

Looking ahead, iSuppli forecasts iPhone shipments of 4.5 million units this year, and 30 million by 2011.

Source: iSuppli Sees 55% Gross Margin For Apple On 8 GB iPhone