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iPhone XS Max 256GB materials cost $443, phone retails for $1,249

An iPhone XS Max bill of materials estimate has been published online, giving us a glimpse at how much the handset's components may cost.

Published onSeptember 26, 2018

The iPhone XS Max in a render from an e-retailer.
  • A recent teardown estimates the Apple iPhone XS Max materials cost $443.
  • This would be around $50 more than last year’s iPhone X components, though the new handset retails for $250 more.
  • Components from Samsung’s Android competitor, the Galaxy S9 Plus, are estimated at $379.

Apple’s latest and most premium smartphone, the 256GB iPhone XS Max, has a $443 bill of materials cost, according to estimates from TechInsights. The website totaled up the component costs in a teardown finalized yesterday (via AppleInsider).

The website examined the component costs and compared them to last year’s 64GB iPhone X, finding that it cost around $47 more to produce (the original iPhone X materials had a $395.44 estimated total). The iPhone X started at $999 for consumers, while the 64GB iPhone XS Max starts at $1099.

The 256GB iPhone XS Max price is set at $1,249. It’s among the most expensive mainstream smartphones ever sold.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus face down on a wooden table.

As is usually the case, most of the money goes on the handset’s display ($80.50), with the chipset ($72.00) and RAM ($64.50) costs following closely behind.

Meanwhile, Apple’s major competitor Samsung and its Galaxy S9 Plus (from March) has a $379 bill of materials total for the 64GB version, and it cost $720 at launch. Samsung charged almost twice the cost of materials for the S9 at retail, while the XS Max retail price is closer to three times the materials.

TechInsights doesn’t have a final Note 9 breakdown, though, as the more recent flagship, it would have made for a better comparison.

Is the 256GB iPhone XS Max a rip-off?

A smartphone’s component costs don’t tell us anything about how much a manufacturer makes from the product. The proposed $800 gap between the 256GB XS Max materials and retail prices don’t convey anything about R&D, advertising, distribution, or any other expenses that Apple must recuperate. That’s not to mention the fact that these figures are unconfirmed estimates.

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In other words, this information alone doesn’t help us understand how “reasonable” the $1,249 retail cost is.

If I were looking at whether $1,249 seems like a good price, however, I might look at what the phone offers and how it compares to similar Android phones. On that basis, I wouldn’t go anywhere near the iPhone XS Max.

What are your thoughts on the new iPhones? Are they worth the money? Let me know in the comments.

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