Cost To Build an iPhone 6 – 23 Years Ago

Apple devices, the iPhone in particular, are amongst some of the most expensive mobile devices on offer today.  However, because the cost of new technology drops year on year, Apple, like many other tech providers, are able to include more features and better hardware for not much more in cash terms. 

Image : iPhone 6 if manufactured in year 1991 [23 years ago]

iphone first prototype concept

The prices of the materials used to build these devices changes constantly, which is to the benefit of the consumer. If the process were to remain the same Apple simply would not produce the iPhone in such large numbers and, to demonstrate this, Tech Policy Daily has produced a research report. This report details how much the new iPhone 6 would have cost to produce back in 1991 , 23 years ago.

The idea for the research came from a 20-year-old ad from Radio Shack, showing off a line of products that, thanks to the iPhone, now no longer exist.  Bret Swanson from Tech Policy Daily decided to take a look at how much the iPhone would have cost to make when that ad came out and, shockingly, the answer he arrived at was more than $3 million.

Image : iPhone 6 Concept now

iphone 6_concept

To be fair, these are only rough costing’s and not all of the major hardware was included in the pricing but, all the same, the price is off the scale.  Let’s take a look at how much some of the hardware would have cost 23 years ago .

iPhone 6 Cost 23 Years Ago :

  • The A7 processor, featured in the latest devices from Apple would have cost about $620,000 in 1991. The A7 is powerful enough to push out 20,500 MIPS – Millions of Instructions per second. But, even considering how powerful it is, that is quite cheap when compare to other features.
  • LTE, a now common feature on most iPhone’s and smartphones would have cost a staggering $1.5 million in 1991
  • The Flash Memory, something else that is common and cheap in today’s terms would have come in at $1.14 million

Unfortunately what wasn’t covered in the report were things like the camera, the touch screen, the software itself and many other major aspects of what goes into making the iPhone what it is today. Had they been, the price would have been a great deal higher.

However, these estimates do put things into perspective and show us how far technology has advanced over the last couple of decades

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