According to a report due out tomorrow based on a tear-down analysis of both the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, each handset costs Apple between $173 and $218 to manufacture.

AllThingsD got their hands on the report from research firm IHS a day early, and provide component and assembly breakdowns for both handsets. If IHS got their sums right, there is a surprisingly small difference in manufacturing cost between the 5c and 5s, making earlier suggestions of higher margins on the 5c seem unlikely … 

Apple spends at least $191 on components to build a 16-gigabyte iPhone 5S. The cost rises to $210 for a 64 GB unit. The cost of assembly adds another $8 per unit, bringing the range to between $199 and $218m […]

On the iPhone 5C, the lower-priced model known for its colorful outer shell, IHS estimates the cost of components plus manufacturing ranges from $173 to $183 including $7 for assembly.

Though the true consumer cost of the handsets are often hidden by contract subsidies, the retail price of the 5s ranges from $649 for the 16GB model to $849 for the 64GB model, while the 5c runs from $549 to $649 – giving significantly higher margins on the more expensive model.

Some notable take-outs … the single most expensive component array is the display, totalling $41 in parts; the A7 processor comes in at $19 (against $13 for the A6 chip in the 5c); and the fingerprint sensor in the 5s runs to $7.

If you’ve ordered the 32GB or 64GB models, paying up to $200 extra for the privilege over the duration of your contract, you may want to look away now: the cost to Apple of the bump from 16GB to 64GB is just $19.

Of course, component and assembly costs are just two elements of the total costs involved. Distribution and marketing costs are substantial, and there’s of course a huge R&D effort behind each new model, but it’s not too hard to see why the company has been making more money than it can spend.

The company sold more than 9M iPhones in the first three days, with subsequent stock price boost, though the company did not provide a breakdown of sales between the two handsets.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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