The research firm IHS Inc. estimates the iPad Air that sells for $499 costs Apple Inc. $274 to make. That's a 13 percent decrease from Apple's cost of $316 to make a comparable iPad from the third-generation model introduced last year.
The estimate released Tuesday was drawn from an analysis of the parts in the iPad Air, which went on sale last week.
Lowering the cost of making the iPad Air could help Apple reverse a recent slump in its profits that has contributed to a 25 percent drop from the company's peak stock price in September 2012.
Apple's earnings have fallen from the previous year in each of the last three quarters
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