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Foxconn blames iPhone 5 shortages on assembly complexity

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.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. DrSkywalker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-29-11

    More ammunition for the MSoft/paranoid IT types as they get on the FUD bandwagon. "CoatingGate". I'm sure there are production challenges, but I don't use a protector of any type and am not particularly kind to my black 5 and have seen no hint of lack of durability. The same thing was said of the glass 4 when it came out. Much ado about nothing as usual.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Foxconn doesn't wasn't more public humiliation so of course they won't mention how the workers strike and cause issues to their clientele. Can't we kick them out of silicon valley as well?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    Originally Posted by DrSkywalkerView Post

    More ammunition for the MSoft/paranoid IT types as they get on the FUD bandwagon.



    Um, and you call them paranoid? You seem to be the one paranoid that everyone is out for reasons not to buy an apple product (which we know is a sore spot, considering how bad Apple's been doing lately, with lousy sales and plummeting stock price .... oh, wait, nevermind).

    "CoatingGate". I'm sure there are production challenges, but I don't use a protector of any type and am not particularly kind to my black 5 and have seen no hint of lack of durability.

    Well, there you go. Anyone who complains doesn't count because they're just complainers and giving anecdotal evidence. But you have PROOF! For yours shows no hint of issues. So therefore there are no issues!

    The same thing was said of the glass 4 when it came out. Much ado about nothing as usual.

    Oh, and I think you miss an important difference here. This is a person at Foxconn saying this, claiming they are having supply issues because of the coatings and stuff. This isn't some irritated customer (like the idiot whining over those microscopic 'dents' in his iPhone 5). Kind of hard to say 'much ado about nothing' when the manufacturer is making the ado.

  1. Tanker10a

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-16-03

    "the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled."
    So?! What is your point?!
    Really?!

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Originally Posted by Tanker10aView Post

    "the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled."
    So?! What is your point?!
    Really?!



    I never know what Trolltudo is on about, but given that Foxconn also makes ALL the iPhone's main rivals, I would say the source is paying a high compliment to Apple's engineering.

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