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White iPhone 4 delayed by capacity, precision issues

updated 11:15 pm EDT, Sun July 18, 2010

Firm may only meet half Apple's white iPhone needs

The reasons behind the month-long delay in delivering white iPhone 4 units may have been provided in a report from this Saturday. The 21st Century Herald explained that Lens Technology, believed to be the contractor, is having difficulty reliably getting the right opacity and thickness for the pure white paint that Apple wants on the glass panels. The setback, along with other obstacles, has reportedly left Lens' production at just half the necessary level, or about three panels per hour.

Apple's decision to postpone the different color was likely to build up enough of a supply at the reduced rate that it could have normal supply for at least the short term, also buying time for Lens to improve its consistency. The supply issue is unique to Apple, as most phones rely on plastic that is relatively easy to color. Both the front and the back not only use glass but have matching colors where the iPhone 3G and 3GS both only needed a single plastic shell.

Neither Apple nor Lens has confirmed the explanations. [via Engadget]



By Electronista Staff
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  1. MyRightEye

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008

    +6

    3 panels per hour?

    We're talking about the Apple iPhone, not the Microsoft Kin, so that's mistake. 300 or 3000 an hour would make more sense.

  1. facebook_Dan

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2010

    +7

    comment title

    well, i would assume the "panel" they are making is probably 4'x8' or something that then gets cut to the product. you would color the panel first i would assume.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +3

    Apple really took some high risks to produce

    the iPhone 4. It's not easy to have to depend on vendors when a company relies on that product for its main source of income. That low number of panels is some paltry production and so late in discovering manufacturing issues. Can you imagine the mess it would be if Apple had to supply Verizon with iPhone 4s. Having a highly desired product is fine, but I guess it also has its disadvantages.

  1. starwarrior

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2006

    +2

    Copying and Paraphasing

    Thats 3 panels per machine. Article does not mention the number of machines that they have.

  1. snork

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008

    +1

    Hardened glass....

    My understanding of hardened glass is that it must be cut to to its final size before it can be go into the oven for it's final hardening process. So they would likely have to be painted after being cut to size and not just done in a large sheet of glass.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -3

    re: risks

    the iPhone 4. It's not easy to have to depend on vendors when a company relies on that product for its main source of income.

    First off, EVERY company relies on vendors. Everything Apple makes relies on vendors, be it for their chips, circuit boards, screens, or assembly. Unless your business is mining ore from the ground and smelting it, you're relying on vendors (and even those people rely on vendors to deliver machinery and the like).

    That low number of panels is some paltry production and so late in discovering manufacturing issues. Can you imagine the mess it would be if Apple had to supply Verizon with iPhone 4s.

    Why would that matter? They'd just wouldn't be getting white iPhones like ATT isn't getting white iPhones like no other country is getting white iPhones.

    Having a highly desired product is fine, but I guess it also has its disadvantages.

    Having a highly desired product is fine (in fact, I think most companies would love to have such a thing - except Apple and computers, for we heard for years how Apple didn't care about market share).

    However, the disadvantage here is not in having such a product. It is in coming up with a design/manufacturing process without actually knowing how well it will work. This seems more like someone said late in the game "Oh c***, don't forget we need a white one!" and they just figured it would be easy to do.

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