The iPhone SE's Brilliant Camera Costs Just $13

It shoots 4K and it's the price of a six-pack of craft beer.

Credit: Reviewed.com / Michael Desjardin
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Apple's newest smartphone, the iPhone SE, is a scaled-back, four-inch device that packs a ton of iPhone 6s tech into the body of an iPhone 5s.

And at just $399 for the 16GB model and $499 for the 64GB version, much has been written about the affordability of the SE, which provides newcomers with a surprisingly cheap path to iOS.

But how exactly did Apple make the iPhone SE so cheap?

Apple iphone se or iphone 6s 5s hero

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A new teardown from IHS sheds some light on the issue. It estimates that the 16GB iPhone SE costs about $160 to manufacture when all's said and done. According to the report, the actual components of the phone come out to $156.20, and the labor required for assembly clocks in at just $3.80.

Oh, and the camera that took 800 people to perfect? That costs $13.


That's right: The 12-megapixel, 4K-shooting, slo-mo–capturing, class-leading shooter (depending on who you ask) in your new iPhone costs less than it does to completely ruin your afternoon by seeing Batman v. Superman in 3D.

Now, to be fair, the Samsung Galaxy S7—which reportedly costs around $255 to manufacture—also features a $13 camera. And the same camera module is also used in the iPhone 6s, which costs around $245 to make.

It's also worth noting that this teardown doesn't account for the costs of hardware and software R&D, distribution, and marketing. Someone's got to pay Feist those royalties, after all.

But the next time you shoot some amazing 4K video with your iPhone, just think about how much joy that camera will bring to the world in its lifespan. That's pretty good return on investment.

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