How many iPhone 6s can fit in a 747?

A recent post in MacRumors included photos of a 747 freighter loaded to the gills with iPhone 6s:

phone6shipping1
Source: MacRumors

The obvious question: How many phones is that? Should Apple be concerned about putting so much valuable cargo in a single jet?

Well, the larger iPhone 6 is 6.2 by 3.06 inches by just over a quarter-inch thick. Let’s assume the boxes are at least a half-inch bigger on the longer dimensions, so 6.7 by 3.56 inches. They have to be big enough to fit the charger, cables, and phones, so they are probably at least 1.25 inches thick.

So each phone in its packaging takes up a minimum of just over 30 cubic inches, which means about 57 phones per cubic foot. The 747-400 freighter has a cargo volume of 26,947 cubic feet, so if you could completely fill the available space, then that would be over 1.5 million phones!

Even if the packing isn’t perfectly efficient, it appears that well over 1 million phones can fit inside a 747 freighter.

Last year, Apple sold 150 million iPhones, so assuming a 50% increase in sales over last year, Apple would need about 225 747s to transport a year’s worth of phones.

So the risk in shipping a plane full of nothing but iPhones would represent less than 0.5 percent of Apple’s annual iPhone sales.

Still, 1 million iPhones is quite a rich cargo: the base large model (unsubsidized by carriers) retails for $749.99. That means a single planeload represents three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of cargo!

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