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iSuppli Says LTE iPhone Would Be Significantly More Expensive to Make

iSuppli Says LTE iPhone Would Be Significantly More Expensive to Make

Posted July 10, 2011 at 5:27pm by iClarified
iSuppli has issued a new report examining the possibility of Apple releasing a LTE iPhone. They conclude that the device would be significantly more expensive to make than the current iPhone 4 model. For example, HTC added $39.75 to the cost of the ThunderBolt smartphone by going LTE.

"It remains to be seen whether the next Apple iPhone set for introduction in September will support 4G LTE," said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for IHS. "However, if it does, two things are clear. First, the iPhone's minuscule printed circuit board (PCB) will have to grow in size in order to support the first-generation LTE baseband processor as well as all the supporting chipset. Second, the next iPhone's BOM value certainly will increase substantially compared to the iPhone 4 if LTE is implemented in the same manner as in the HTC Thunderbolt."

iSuppli estimates that using the same components as HTC, the CDMA iPhone 4 BOM would rise to $211.10, a 23.2% increase. However, cost may not be the deciding factor. Apple's COO recently said that the company was not willing to make the design compromises for the first generation LTE chipsets.

"The first generation of LTE chipsets forced a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make," said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple chief operating officer, speaking at the company's April 2011 earnings call.

iSupplie points to a more efficient semiconductor solution from Qualcomm for adding LTE to the iPhone. The SnapDragon MSM8960, is a successor to the MSM8655 used in the ThunderBolt that combines LTE, EVDO and HSPA into a single chip. This new device not only eliminates the multiple baseband chipset approach employed by theThunderBolt, but also would reduce the size and cost of making an LTE-enabled iPhone 5 compared to the ThunderBolt.

However, the MSM8960 also requires additional components such as power amplifiers, radio frequency components and switches. iSuppli suggests Apple may be more interested in Qualcomm's next generation LTE solution that is set to be introduced in 2012.

Read More [via 9to5Mac]

iSuppli Says LTE iPhone Would Be Significantly More Expensive to Make
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