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iHS: iPhone 4S packs ‘a wealth of innovation’


On the outside, the iPhone 4S may have disappointed some with its perceived lack of new features. But on the inside, the latest member of the iPhone line includes “a wealth of innovation,” including a new wireless module with a unique custom module from Avago Technologies and the first use of a Hynix Semiconductor NAND flash memory in an iPhone according to a new “IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis” ( from information and analysis provider IHS.

The baseline iPhone 4S model with 16GB of NAND flash memory carries a bill of materials (BOM) of $188. When the additional $8 manufacturing cost is added in, the total increases to $196. The other iPhone 4S models are identical to the baseline version, with the exception of the addition of more NAND flash. This gives the mid range, 32GB model a BOM of $207, and the high-end 64GB version a BOM of $245.

iHS says that these teardown assessments are preliminary in nature, and account only for hardware costs and don’t include other expenses such as software, licensing, royalties or other expenditures.    

“While the iPhone 4S shares many common design elements with the two iPhone 4 models already on the market, the new device’s status as a world phone has resulted in fascinating design and component changes,” says Andrew Rassweiler, senior director, teardown services, for IHS. “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 or Toshiba Corp. seen in all previous iPhone and iPad teardowns.

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