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The Apple iPad 2 may be a leaner, meaner and faster-processing machine than its predecessor, but these marked improvements come at only a modestly higher price to Apple, according to a March 13 report from research firm IHS iSuppli.

The 32GB, GSM/HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) version of the iPad 2—the model available from AT&T—has a BOM (bill of materials) of $326.60, which jumps to $336.60 when manufacturing costs are included, reports the firm, while the 32GB CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) model, with 3G connectivity from Verizon Wireless, comes in at $323.25, or $333.25 with manufacturing costs. By comparison, the first-generation, 32GB 3G iPad had a BOM of $320.

“Despite the obvious changes to iPad like the enclosure and the battery, and the less obvious changes in the touch-screen, the iPad 2’s components and design are remarkably similar if not the same as those of the iPad 1,” Andrew Rassweiler, IHS iSuppli’s senior director, principal analyst and teardown services manager, said in a statement.

Apple has used the same components and suppliers for the NAND flash, the multi-touch controllers and touch-screen drivers, for both the new and old iPads, as well as the same core chip in the wireless section as is in the iPhone 4, said the report.

"Many of the other components—including the apps processor and the Bluetooth/frequency/global positioning system/wireless local area network chips," it added, "have the same suppliers and are essentially new revisions of the chips found in the previous iPad and other iPhones.”

The iPad 2’s highest-cost item—$127 for each carrier’s model—is the display and touch-screen, up from the $95 that IHS iSuppli estimated for the original iPad, considering pricing in April 2010. Most of that cost is attributable to the 9.7-inch touch-screen.

For more, read the eWEEK article: Apple iPad 2 Carries a BOM of $326, Up from iPad’s $320