iSuppli breakdown report arrives, estimates true cost of iPhone 4 components

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Date: Tuesday, June 29th, 2010, 04:37
Category: iPhone, News

Apple tends to sell a zillion iPhones and, once again, the question of cost versus profit has been looked into.

Per BusinessWeek, an iSuppli breakdown of the components that make up Apple’s iPhone 4 has found that the most expensive item in the device is its high-resolution Retina Display, with an estimated price of US$28.50.

In its recent report, iSuppli found that the components inside cost an estimated US$187.51. Apple’s latest phone starts at US$199 with 16GB of internal memory and a two-year service contract in the U.S. The cost breakdown applies to the 16GB iPhone 4.

The most expensive component is the highly touted Retina Display found on the iPhone 4. Supplied by LG Display, the component costs US$28.50, iSuppli said. The custom-built A4 processor, assembled by Samsung, cost an estimated US$10.75.

The newly added gyroscope in the iPhone 4 was said to cost another US$2.60, in addition to the 65-cent accelerometer found in the current phone as well as previous models. The new gyroscope is made by STMicroelectronics of Geneva.

Other suppliers of the internal hardware include touch-sensitive panels from Wintek and TPK, and chips from Skyworks Solutions and TriQuint Semiconductor.

Neither Apple nor its carrier partners would comment on how much is paid by wireless providers for the unsubsidized handset. Historically, the average selling price of previous model iPhones has been around US$600.

The total estimated cost is slightly higher than the iPhone 3GS, first released last year. The 2009 handset cost an estimate US$179 in parts for Apple.

In fact, the price of Apple’s phones has been steadily increasing over the years. In 2008, iSuppli found that the iPhone 3G carried a components cost of US$174.33.

Even so, there may be some room for error. The TechCrunch web blog noted in its coverage of the report that “iSuppli is well-known for low-balling these numbers in an effort to convince manufacturers to contact them in order to connect with their preferred suppliers, so grains of salt must be taken.”

iPhone 4 yellow tint could fade after a few days of use, source says

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Date: Friday, June 25th, 2010, 02:31
Category: iPhone, News

Following up on yesterday’s story regarding a yellow discoloration found on some of the iPhone 4 screens, this may be a temporary problem at best. Per the AppleInsider forums, a user posted yesterday that Apple’s component manufacturers are involved in pitching the Z-6011 bonding agent to Apple that is found in the iPhone 4. The material is used to bond the layers of glass in the device during the assembly of the hardware.

“Apple is using a bonding agent called Organofunctional Silane Z-6011 to bond the layers of glass,” austingaijin wrote. “Apparently, Apple (or more likely Foxconn) is shipping these products so quickly that the evaporation process is not complete. However, after one or two days of use, especially with the screen on, will complete the evaporation process and the yellow ‘blotches’ will disappear.”

Users began to report on Wednesday that the Retina Display on their new iPhone 4 has a discoloration in the bottom corners of its screen. On those affected units, the screen’s corner has a warm yellowish tint to it.

An issue that could go away after a few days…not the worst thing ever.

If you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixit posts early teardown of iPhone 4 components

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Date: Thursday, June 24th, 2010, 04:34
Category: iPhone, News

It’s the hardware teardowns that make technology fun and apparently a member of the fabled iFixit team planned to fly to Ginza to camp out at a Japanese Apple Store location. Instead, FedEx delivered an iPhone 4 two days early, allowing for an ahead-of schedule teardown of the handset, as posted here.

The teardown posted by iFixit of an early delivery reveals the new model’s A4 application processor with 512MB of RAM, the new Retina Display, dual front and rear cameras, a secondary mic for noise canceling, an oversized new battery, and custom gyroscope which along with the accelerometer provides full six-axis motion control.

The two rear exposed Phillips screws now release the back panel rather than the front glass, a design that “makes replacing the rear panel trivial, but unfortunately means that replacing the front glass will likely be rather challenging,” iFixit says.

Inside the back panel, the larger new 3.7V 1420 mAh Li-Polymer battery consumes all available space, while the new 5 megapixel still camera (capable of 720p, 30 fps video capture) anchors one corner and the vibration motor holds down the other.

The logic board packs Apple’s A4 application processor, a “new 3-axis gyroscope that we believe is designed and manufactured by STMicro” and not yet commercially available, STMicro’s 33DH 3-axis accelerometer, and an Apple-branded Cirrus Logic 338S0589 audio codec that is also used in iPad.

Going deeper, iFixit pulled the top mic used for noise cancelation to quiet ambient sounds, the front facing VGA camera used for FaceTime video chat, and the primary mic used in the mouthpiece.

Some iPhone 4 users report dropped signal bars, yellow tint on screen

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Date: Thursday, June 24th, 2010, 03:06
Category: iPhone, News

Apple’s iPhone 4 hits the shelves today and while the handset has received good reviews across the Web and in print, there may be some issues to contend with.

According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, a number of customers have commented that their shipped iPhone 4 units are experiencing problems with yellow tinted displays and disappearing signal bars.

Specifically, some users who received an iPhone 4 early found that the Retina Display on the new handset has a discoloration in the bottom corners of the screen.

“In the bottom 10% of the screen there are three blotches about the size of shirt buttons that discolor the screen a brown/yellow color,” one user wrote.



The issues are remniscent to a problem that plagued early adopters of the iPhone 3G who found their whole screen had a warmer, yellower hue than the original iPhone. Apple later said that the color tint was a deliberate decision.

In addition, others have said that the iPhone 4 occasionally drops signal bars when held in the hand. The same issue was also noted by Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal in his iPhone 4 review. He said the device sometimes registers no bars, or fewer bars than the iPhone 3GS, even though a call can still be placed.

“Apple says that this is a bug it plans to fix,” Mossberg wrote, “and that it has to do with the way the bars are presented, not the actual ability to make a call. And, in fact, in nearly all of these cases, the iPhone 4 was able to place calls despite the lack of bars.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know.

Additional details surface about iPhone 4′s Retina display

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Date: Tuesday, June 8th, 2010, 07:35
Category: iPhone, News

Perhaps one of the most impressive features of the iPhone 4, the Retina display, was introduced at yesterday’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference yesterday.

To answer the question of what a Retina display is, Chris Branderick of PC World offered the following tidbits:

“To put it simply, Apple’s figurative Retina display is an LCD that boasts a super high pixel density by squeezing a 960-by-640-pixel resolution into 3.5 inches—a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (ppi).

The Retina display has four times the number of pixels as previous iPhones; its screen size is unchanged, resulting in double the pixel density. When compared to the now US$99 iPhone 3GS, which has a 163ppi screen with a 480-by-320 resolution, it’s easy to imagine just how this new screen will shine.

While talking about the new display, Steve Jobs went on to detail that after a certain point the human eye fails to distinguish individual pixels. According to the Apple CEO this “magic number,” when visible pixelation is no more, is around 300ppi. Therefore, with the iPhone 4’s screen coming in at more than 300 pixels per inch (326ppi), the display will supposedly always looks smooth and crisp, with no jaggies in sight.

Apple’s retina display also promises an improved contrast ratio. The company claims that the upcoming iPhone 4 will have a contrast ratio four times higher than that of previous models. Beyond the use of more compact pixels the screen, which is a backlit LED, will also adopt In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology to improve viewing angles and enhance color display.

Apple isn’t the first to put a super-high-resolution screen in a smartphone. Google’s Nexus One, for example, features an OLED screen with a resolution of 800-by-480 pixels, but its subpixel arrangement has some issues.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’re attending the WWDC and can offer any hands-on feedback of the iPhone 4, please let us know in the comments.

Apple announces iPhone 4 at WWDC keynote

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Date: Monday, June 7th, 2010, 12:39
Category: iPhone, News

In his long-awaited Worldwide Developers Conference keynote speech, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the fourth-generation iPhone, termed the “iPhone 4″. Per Macworld, the iPhone 4 is 9.3mm thick, or 24$ thinner than the iPhone 3GS and includes new camera with an LED flash on the black, but a second, front-facing camera as well. There are new volume buttons, a mute button, plus a second microphone on the top for noise cancellation. Just like the iPad, it now incorporates a micro-SIM tray.

Apple has also engineered three integrated antennas into the design: one for Bluetooth, one for WI-Fi and GPS, and one for UMTS and GSM.

The iPhone 4 features a new screen technology called a “retina display” which operates at 326 pixels per inch, double the 163 pixels per inch resolution of the iPhone 3GS.

The new display measures the same 3.5″ inches diagonally, but at 960 x 640 it has four times as many pixels as the previous model with an 800:1 contrast ratio that’s also four times that of the iPhone 3GS. It uses the same IPS display technology as the iPad and the iMac for good color fidelity, brightness, and viewing angle.

The new handset also sports the A4 chip, which boasts both a small footprint and good power management. Apple went with the micro-SIM design to save space, mostly for a new battery that, coupled with the new chip, Apple says provides 40$ more talk time. The company says talk time is up from 5 hours to 7 hours; 6 hours of 3G browsing; 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing; 10 hours of video; 40 hours of music; and 300 hours of standby.

Environmentally, the new iPhone is arsenic free, BFR-free mercury-free, PVC-free, and made from highly recyclable materials.

The handset includes quad-band HSPDPA/HSUPA networking with a maximum of 7.2Mbps down and 5.8 Mbps up.

There’s also 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking, an improvement from 802.11g in the previous model.

The iPhone 4 also add a three-axis gyroscope for measuring angular velocity and can figure out pitch, roll, and yaw; and rotation about gravity. The gyroscope plus the accelerometer provide six-axis motion sensing which can be combined with new CoreMotion APIs that developers can call for extremely precise position information.

The iPhone 4 has a new, 5-megapixel camera with 5x digital zoom and an LED flash. It also adds 720p HD video capture at 30 frames per second. The company has also created a version of its iMovie consumer video-editing application for the iPhone. With it, you can record or edit you videos (and add photos as well). Once the video has been recorded, users can add titles, changes themes, and use music from your iTunes library.

iMovie for iPhone will be available for US$5.

For Jobs’ “One More Thing” moment, he sat down on a chair to show off the iPhone 4’s video chatting capabilities. Using either of the two cameras, you can make video calls via a feature called FaceTime between iPhone 4 phones over Wi-Fi only (at least through 2010). Users can also switch between cameras and chat in landscape or portait mode.

The iPhone 4 will be available in both black and white, at US$199 for 16GB and US$299 for 32GB (with the same qualifications and two-year contract with AT&T as in the past). Apple will also add an 8GB iPhone 3GS for US$99.

Jobs said that AT&T is going to make “an incredibly generous upgrade offer.” If your contract expires any time in 2010, you’re immediately eligible for that pricing, for up to six months early eligibility. The iPhone 4 will be available from Apple and AT&T’s retail and online stores, as well as at Best Buy and Wal-Mart stores.

The iPhone 4 goes on sale in the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., and Japan on June 24th, with pre-orders starting on June 15th. It will ship in 18 more countries in July, in 24 more in August, and in 40 more by the end of September.

Apple also showed off some accessories: a US$29 dock and a US$29 case called a Bumper that comes in white, black, blue, green, orange, or pink.