by Al Sacco

iPhone 5 Price Madness: $207 to Build; $649 from Apple; $900 or More on eBay

Sep 19, 20122 mins
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The iPhone is selling faster than any gadget in history, and when demand is so high, the price customers are willing to pay jumps accordingly. Even so, the lengths consumers are willing to go to, and the prices they'll pay, to get an iPhone 5 are astounding.

Apple’s brand spankin’ new iPhone 5 may seem underwhelming to some, including this blogger, but it’s selling like sunscreen at the beach on a 110-degree August afternoon. Apple says it already shattered its sales record with more than 2 million units sold in just 24 hours—and those are all preorders. AT&T reports similarly impressive sales and another broken record, though it didn’t release specific numbers.


With so much demand and waning supply, shipping dates have already been pushed back and the price of the iPhone 5 has skyrocketed, at least via unofficial sales channels. Here’s a quick breakdown of how much the iPhone actually costs to manufacture, how much it’s sold for via carriers and via Apple, as well as how much anxious iFanbois are paying for the device on online retailer sites such as eBay.

From iSuppli:

“The new iPhone 5 carries a bill of materials (BOM) of $199.00 for the low-end model with 16Gbytes of NAND flash memory, according to a preliminary virtual teardown conducted by the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service. When the $8.00 manufacturing cost is added in, the cost to produce the iPhone 5 rises to $207.00. For the 32Gbyte version of the iPhone 5, the BOM cost increases to $209.00, while 64Gbyte version is estimated at $230.00.”

Wireless carriers are selling subsidized devices, along with new two-year service agreements, for $199.99 (16GB); $299.99 (32GB); and $399.99 (64GB),

Apple will reportedly sell unlocked versions of the iPhone 5 for $649 (16GB); $749 (32GB); and $849 (64GB). In other words, Apple is selling unlocked iPhone 5s for more than three times the actual manufacturing costs.

But the most shocking numbers of all: The money eBay sellers are asking for—and undoubtedly getting—for unlocked iPhone 5 devices. A quick scan of iPhone 5 listings on eBay shows bids of upwards of $900 for unlocked 16 GB iPhone 5s and significantly more for the 32GB and 64GB versions.

That is just ridiculous. This is a smartphone. Some people have some serious mixed up priorities. Actor Zach Braff summed up the iPhone 5 hysteria quite nicely on Twitter:

“Sleeping on a sidewalk for 4 days for an $800 phone? The Red Cross is always looking for people with extra time:

Check out the video below for a quick look at three top-of-the-line iPhone alternatives that won’t cost you and arm and a leg—and an ear.