Phones can get to be quite pricey. So, if you don’t feel like paying hundreds of dollars for a smartphone, just make your own. At least that’s what one man thought when he built his own iPhone 6s from scratch.
The crafty guy in question is named Scotty Allen. Allen has been staying in Shenzhen, China, for over a year. One day he decided to put together his own fully functional iPhone 6s. Allen did this by searching around the markets of Huaqiangbei for cellphone parts. Huaqiangbei is full of spare parts and other technological components.
The search for the right parts did prove to be tedious even though Allen had help from a Shenzhen local. Then there was the entire process of making the device which only seemed to be more laborious than finding the parts. Allen struggled with soldering a functional logic board and other parts. In the end, he just bought a recycled logic board that came with a Touch ID sensor.
Part searching and soldering combined with the puzzled expressions of the locals who kept wondering why he would want to build his own phone since he could find perfect models not too far from the city. Yet the entire experience made a great adventure for Allen.
The whole idea started when one someone mentioned that it would be possible to build an iPhone from spare parts found throughout Shenzhen. Allen then took that as a personal challenged and started the mission to craft his own device.
The entire mission to build his own iPhone 6s cost Allen a total of $1000. Most of that money was spent in parts that he ended up not having to use. When it was all said and done, Allen says he estimates it took him about $300 to build the finished product. That’s surprisingly cheaper than many of the retail prices. According to statistics on teardown, Allen’s finished product almost matches iFixit’s estimated $236 for an iPhone 6s Plus’s materials and manufacturing.
Allen chose to create the iPhone 6s because the earlier generation smartphone’s part would be far easier to find then the parts of the recent iPhone 7. When it comes to the iPhone 6s parts, Allen said it was easier to find the parts because “A lot of the parts come from recycled/broken phones.”
Yet Allen says that despite the low price of his custom iPhone 6s, it wasn’t about the money for him. He also commented that, “It happens that what I spent in parts is less than what it would cost to buy a phone in the Apple Store, but I’m also taking on a whole lot of risk that a part will break, or isn’t up to spec, and I’ll have to buy a new one later. It’s not about having a phone for less.”
It’s safe to say that no one would fly to China and search around for the parts to build their own iPhone. Unless you know where to look or what to look for, so many things could go wrong. Yet Allen’s crafty project does allow us to take a good look at the real cost of manufacturing, developing, and other factors of creating devices like iPhone’s.