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In spite of shifting to more advanced components, the iPad Air is actually cheaper to build than the third-generation iPad was, according to a teardown by IHS iSuppli. The cost is estimated to be between $274 and $361 per unit, depending on the exact configuration. The base cost is $42 less than it was for the third-gen iPad. One contributing factor is the A7 processor, which while costing $18 per unit, is still $5 less than an A5 processor was 18 months ago.
An Italian blog has posted photos of what it claims is the logic board for the iPhone 5, set to be announced later today. The board notably uses an A6 chip, indicating that Apple is finally advancing beyond the A5 line. When the third-generation iPad was introduced in March Apple designated its processor the A5X, since the chip was little different from the A5 except for graphics power.
Apple is in the middle of evaluating potential parts for the next-generation iPhone, according to a Barclays research memo. One expected choice is Qualcomm's MDM9615 chipset, which enables voice and data over LTE. The part is different from the MDM9600 used in the third-generation iPad, which is limited to data only. It also remains to be seen if the new iPhone will support "world" LTE, unlike the iPad, which requires different models for different bands. Adding LTE to the iPhone is expected to cost Apple between $3 and $10 extra per unit versus 3G.
Analysts have provided somewhat conflicting cost breakdowns for the iPad 2 that nonetheless both put the Motorola Xoom in a poor light. iSuppli said Apple's tablet should cost $323.35 in raw parts for a 32GB, Verizon (EVDO) version or $326.60 for its AT&T (HSPA) equivalent. The HSPA version needs chipsets with Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi separate from the Intel/Infineon cellular chip where the EVDO version uses an all-in-one Qualcomm chipset, much like in the Verizon iPhone.
Apple is edging closer to a Verizon iPhone in January with a large order of CDMA chipsets, insiders reportedly said on Sunday. The company is queuing up "millions" of Qualcomm chipsets for a production run to start in December. The requests are coming early, TechCrunch said, as lead times for chips can often require months to generate enough supply, even when other components can be made more quickly.
The iPhone 4 is Apple's most expensive ever phone to make short of the original phone itself, a price breakdown by iSuppli has found. A 16GB example costs about $187.51 in raw parts; the bill is less than the $223 of the 2007 original but more than the $173 iPhone 3G and the $178.96 iPhone 3GS. Most of that cost increase is attributed to the LG Display-built 960x640 IPS screen, which is estimated to cost $28.50 all by itself.
A quick dissection of the iPhone 4 by iFixit has discovered that it theoretically has performance as least as good as an iPad. The already-known A4 processor should run at the same 1GHz clock speed as seen in the Apple tablet, in spite of the smaller size, but with 512MB of memory should be better with multitasking. Whether Apple has quietly underclocked or otherwise detuned the A4 isn't known, but early benchmarking has suggested it's faster than an iPhone 3GS but not as fast as an iPad in practice.
The companies responsible for manufacturing parts in the next major iPhone release have potentially been named by industry contacts of DigiTimes that also predict ship dates and numbers. The Taiwan-area site reinforces its previous claim that OmniVision is making a 3.2-megapixel sensor for the Apple handset's camera and now says that Largan Precision is making the rest of the imaging unit. Infineon is continuing to provide the cellular baseband (likely upgraded to 7.2Mbps 3G) as well as the GPS chipset.