“If you don’t have an iPhone, well…”

by Noc Team on July 6, 2011

By Halima Khan

If you don’t have the iPhone then you’re wide of the mark. The iPhone is a universal endeavor. Tens of thousands of people at more than 30 companies on 3 continents work together to make Apple’s first phone possible.

Apple, of course, designs the product, and moreover created the single most important ‘constituent’ – the software that gives the iPhone its distinctive personality. But, at the same time as Apple gets the credit, behind the scenes there is a congregation of additional players, each of which has to manufacture and distribute intricate parts on program to make the iPhone doable. Some of them are well known names, like US-based Intel, which supplies the NOR flash chips which hold the iPhone’s updatable system software; and Korea’s Samsung, which makes the video processor IC.

Two famous names from consumer electronics, Japan’s Sharp and Sanyo Epson, are among the suppliers of the phone’s bright 3.5-inch display. Then there are the unknowns, each of which plays a small but imperative role. Ever heard of Balda AG? Chinese factories owned by this German firm make the touch sensitive modules which are fixed onto the iPhone’s LCD to make its innovative multi-touch control possible. It’s also Balda’s technology which permitted Apple to switch to a tough scratch-resistant glass screen, to avoid the complaints over scratching that tainted the iPod Nano launch.

Another low profile firm, the UK’s Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR), is the creator of the iPhone’s Bluetooth module, in a deal that reportedly earns the integrated circuit design house $1.20 for each iPhone made. You might have heard of the companies behind a few of the other iPhone chips – if you’ve ever wrestled with network driver installation on a PC. Marvell designs the WiFi chip, for example.

Broadcom, best known for its networking chips, is the company behind the specialized interface chip that interprets the movement of your fingers on the multi-touch screen. While these chips are premeditated in Europe or the US, most of them aren’t prepared there. Instead they are rolling off production lines in Asia, from companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), unquestionably the world’s biggest unknown chip maker, or its slightly smaller rival, United Microelectronic Corp (UMC) – both companies are based in Taiwan.

The distinctive aluminum and stainless steel iPhone case is also made by a Taiwanese firm, Catcher Technology, according to analysts in Taiwan.

No matter where the iPhone’s innumerable mechanism parts are made, they all end up in one place: the factories of a lead contractor whose identity is now something of a mystery. Apple’s iPod manufacturing partner, Taiwan’s Foxconn, was long rumored to be the company that assembled the hundreds of components into a lustrous iPhone.

However, Foxconn’s CEO recently astonished investors by telling them that these reports were inaccurate, according to Reuters. Another likely Taiwanese candidate, Quanta, is rumored to be working on the iPhone, but only on the next generation, so-called ‘iPhone 2.0’.

Analysts in Foxconn’s home base of Taipei however, still assertively list Foxconn International Holdings as the iPhone’s assembler, in spite of the company CEO’s plain refutation. Whoever the assembler is, it is there that the chips are planted onto printed circuit boards supplied by Taiwan’s Unimicron Technology Corp. Then all the components are fitted into the metal and plastic case to make a completed iPhone, ready for shipment to the US.

What does the iPhone cost?

So you thought the iPhone’s insanely high price tag is due to all the fancy technology inside? Not so, my friend. That touch screen that everyone is popping tents over only costs $33.50, with the touch screen controller adding a mere $1.15 to the price. In fact, Apple stands to make a healthy 50% profit on both versions of the iPhone sold.

With the new iPhone 3G S’s Bill of Materials (BOM) and feature set nearly the same as the previous model in the iPhone line, you might think the product’s component selection would be virtually unchanged.

The table and cost data presented in this article consist only of the iPhone 3G S’s BOM. The total does not include other costs, including manufacturing software development, shipping and distribution, packaging, royalty fees and miscellaneous accessories included with each phone.

How many iPhones sold to date?

On the 200th day of launching iPhone back in the day, Steve Jobs announced that Apple has sold 4 million iPhones. The total number of iPhones sold since its inception is the high number of 51.5 Million. Other interesting facts are:

  • 100,000 iPhone applications already on Appstore.
  • Billion Applications sold till date on iPhone Appstore.
  • 10,000 Blackberry applications already on Blackberry App World.
  • Android is the Fastest Growing Mobile Apps market with 3,000 applications already developed.
  • iPhone, Blackberry & Android control 91% of the total mobile application market.

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali Shaheer Ejaz July 6, 2011 at 4:17 PM

That’s too old article suck…

Moazzam July 7, 2011 at 3:13 AM

The date presented above corresponds to previous model of the iPhone, that is, iPhone 3 GS. The latest model currently in use by numerous people all over is iPhone 4, though. However, the new Nokia N9 with their new operating system “MeeGo” is exceptionally better than the iPhone 4 in many aspects. I hope the upcoming models of the Nokia phones based on the Windows operating system would be treated as the “iPhone killer”. Nokia should work hard on the touch screen because still the N9’s resolution is lower than the iPhone 4.

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