updated 09:21 am EDT, Wed October 17, 2012
Manufacturer acknowledges scratch-prone coating
Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn has acknowledged production difficulties with the iPhone 5, including its new coating that appears to be prone to scratching. An unnamed official at the company told The Wall Street Journal that the iPhone 5 is "the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled."
"To make it light and thin, the design is very complicated," the source added. "It takes time to learn how to make this new device. Practice makes perfect. Our productivity has been improving day by day."
The iPhone 5 has been generally well received, however many buyers have claimed that the black model arrived from the factory with scratches in the anodized coating. Other buyers received a phone in perfect condition, but later found the coating to be easily marred.
The Foxconn source suggests it is difficult to "satisfy both aesthetic needs and practical needs," though the company is said to be working to improve its quality controls to prevent devices from shipping with damage.
The iPhone 5 is further claimed to be the source of violent conflict between groups of employees at Foxconn's Zhengzhou plant, where assembly line workers clashed with members of the quality control team. It remains unclear if the riots at the company's Taiyuan plant, which reportedly involved more than 2,000 workers, was related to iPhone 5 production.
The manufacturer has faced criticism for conditions in its factories and employee dormitories, though Apple and other clients have pushed the company to limit overtime hours, improve wages and screen applicants to avoid hiring underage workers.