Original Post Date: Monday, October 8, 2012

The answer:  ~ 10.226.  At least that’s the value on our complexity scale we found via calibration after modeling it in TruePlanning(R).  

Check out this Teardown of the new iPhone 5 , which breaks it down into a bill of materials, each with an estimated cost.  A colleague had the cool idea to model the iPhone 5 with TruePlanning, using information we could find on the internet.  This was a really thought-provoking exercise to help me as I’m updating our electronics complexity guidance, because the electronics in the iPhone 5 are state-of-the-art.

Around the office, I’ve heard the phrase “We can model anything from paperclips to spaceships.”   Our tools can model anything, no matter how simple or complex.  However, this phrase might be a little outdated – the A6 chip found in the iPhone 5 is more complex than any on a spaceship.  Apple spent over $100M in developing the A6, much more than the government has ever spent on a single chip.  I also don’t know of any full-custom chips in space or military electronics with components as tiny as 32nm (which is VERY tiny – the tip of a strand of human hair is approximately 90,000 nm).

This exercise, while doable, pushed the boundaries of our models in some ways, and it led to some interesting discussions about our electronics estimation guidance, and how we can stay one step ahead.  In the end, TruePlanning continues to be relevant and accurate in estimating the latest and greatest in the field of electronics, and I’ll add this case study to the list of test cases we can try out with our final solution.