In Pictures: Inside the Apple iPhone

PC World breaks apart Apple's iPhone to analyze the device's internal components.

iPhone Component Costs

Within 48 hours of its launch, market research firm iSuppli dissected Apple's iPhone to break down the cost of the hardware components inside. The sleek iPhone is dominated by its 3.5-inch, 480-by-320 pixel multitouch display. The display is among the most costly elements in the iPhone, aside from the memory and the touchscreen module; its price is pegged at $24.50. The glass display itself is sourced by Epson, Sharp, and Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology.

Breaking the iPhone Open

ISuppli's analysis reveals the total cost of the hardware components is $225.85 for the 4GB version, and $249.85 for the 8GB version. The only difference between the two versions lies in the flash memory, says Jagdish Rebello, director and principal analyst at iSuppli. The costs are in line with iSuppli's expectations based on the iPhone's specs; although, Rebello adds, "the complexity of the display cost more than we anticipated." At right, you can see the back plate covering the display. The $27 touchscreen module that enables the iPhone's cool touch navigation originates from Balda and TPK Solutions.

Insert SIM Card Here

This closeup shows the bottom of the iPhone's applications circuit board. The open slot (1) houses the AT&T SIM card; the iPhone not only is locked to AT&T service, but it's also locked to the specific AT&T SIM card that comes with it. We tried inserting a non-iPhone AT&T SIM card--and the phone wouldn't recognize it. Hidden under (2) is 8MB of multipurpose flash memory--which is in addition to the iPhone's 4GB or 8GB of primary flash storage.

Circuit Board Sandwich

The iPhone is slim, measuring just 12 mm thick. The components packed inside the iPhone's stylish chassis are cleverly sandwiched together. To reveal the individual components that together comprise the iPhone's brains, you must pry the boards apart.

iPhone in Butterfly View

Here, you can clearly see the top of the applications circuit board (1) and the top of the wireless interface board (3). In the middle, you see the inside of the iPhone's back surface. The 3.5mm stereo headphone minijack and related circuitry (2) is crammed into the upper left corner. Although the jack itself is standard, when the chassis is assembled, the jack is actually inset a bit, making it difficult for most ordinary headphones to fit into the tight space. If you want to use your current headphones on the iPhone, you'll need to buy a $10 adapter.

Wireless Interface Components

The board shown here is crammed with the components that are "the heart and the soul of any wireless device," says iSuppli's Rebello. Pictured here: The quad-band GSM (850-, 900-, 1800-, and 1900-MHz)/EDGE transceiver (A); power amplifier (B); Bluetooth 2.0 chip set (C); the wireless 802.11 a/b/g chip set (D); the baseband chip set (E); and power management chip set (F).

Fixed Battery

The iPhone's lithium ion battery cannot be replaced by users. The battery is built into the unit, and soldered to the wireless interface board, as shown here. Apple says the battery should be able to be charged 300 to 400 times. To replace the battery, you'll have to send the phone in to Apple, and it will cost you $79 plus $6.95 for return shipping. Apple will replace the battery in warranty if it drops below 50 percent of its original capacity; but the iPhone only gives you a visual, not a numeric, reporting of battery life.

The iPhone's Brain, Part 1

This view shows the top of the applications circuit board, home of the iPhone's core components. The flash memory is among the most expensive elements in the iPhone--even with flash prices having fallen almost by half since the iPhone's unveiling in January. "Memory pricing has fallen right through the floor," says iSuppli's Rebello. The 4GB Samsung NAND memory costs $24 (seen here), while the 8GB costs $48. The Samsung memory uses multi-level cell (MLC) technology, which stores more bits per cell than single-level cell (SLC) technology, but also means you'll have higher power consumption.

The iPhone's Brain, Part 2

Other core components on the applications circuit board include the motion sensor/accelerometer that enables the iPhone's whiz-bang ability to auto-rotate the display's orientation (A), the 24-bit RGB display interface from National (B), and Wolfson Microelectronics' audio codec (C). In the upper left, you can see the iPhone's camera. The Apple-branded processor (D) is one of the largest components here: The 620-MHz ARM1176JZF application processor has 1Gb of DDR SDRAM memory from Samsung. (iSuppli has narrowed down the processor's source as being either Samsung or Marvell).

The iPhone's Camera

Camera phones are great for snapping casual shots--and the iPhone is no exception. The phone has a 2-megapixel, fixed-lens camera module with a CMOS sensor. iSuppli estimates that the cost of the camera is $9.50.

Beyond Components: It's All About the Software

Aside from the multi-touch display and motion sensor/accelerometer, the iPhone turns out to have little else in terms of revolutionary components. However, the integration of the software with the hardware is entirely different. The level of thought put into interface design and software has been heretofore unseen in a cell phone. And that added touch that Apple brings to the table--the same touch that sparked thousands of people to queue up for the iPhone in advance of its launch--is much harder to put a price tag to.