NEW YORK — Apple’s iPad tablet computer, selling for about $500, cost as little as $259.60 to build, according to an analysis by market research firm ISuppli Corp.

Materials for the iPad, which went on sale on April 3, include a touch-screen display that costs $95 and a $26.80 processor designed by Apple and manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co., according to El Segundo, Calif.-based ISuppli.

Analysis by ISuppli indicates that components of the lowest-priced, 16-gigabyte iPad amounts to 52 percent of its retail price of $499. That leaves the iPad on par with other Apple products, including the iPhone 3GS. A high-end 64-gigabyte version of the iPad, which retails for $699, contains components that cost $348.10, according to ISuppli.

Much of the iPad’s component costs went toward making the device appealing to use, said ISuppli principal analyst Andrew Rassweiler, who supervised the “teardown” analysis of the product. More than 40 percent of the iPad’s cost is devoted to powering its touch-screen display and other components of the computer’s user interface — “what you see with your eyes and what you feel with your fingers,” he said. The distinctive aluminum casing on the back of the device contributed about $10.50 to cost of materials.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison declined to comment on ISuppli’s findings.