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Supplier's machines can only make 3 iPhone 4 glass panels per hour

post #1 of 75
Thread Starter 
Details of the manufacturing difficulties Apple has faced in producing the white version of the iPhone 4 have been detailed in a new report, which suggests supply will be extremely limited when the devices launch later this month.

The alleged problems were revealed this week by Chinese-language newspaper 21st Century Business Herald, which said that the manufacturing issues come from a factory in China known as Lens Technology. A worker with the company's quality control department said that the company is still trying to work out the right balance of paint thickness and opacity, in order to ensure the panel allows enough space for the digitizer overlay, but also gives the level of white that Apple expects the product to have.

Industry sources also indicated that each machine owned by Lens Technology can only cut three iPhone 4 glass covers per hour. The report said that the company's current production capacity can only meet half of Apple's demand for the iPhone 4.

Demand for the iPhone 4 has been unprecedented, selling 1.7 million units -- available in black only -- in the first three days. It was the most successful product launch in Apple's history. Last week, the company announced it had sold more than 3 million in its first three weeks.

The process of developing the glass itself is also lengthy and tedious. As noted by Engadget, the manufacturing involves "developing the tooling, cutting the raw material (mainly sourced from Germany, Switzerland and Japan), fine-milling using CNC (computed numerically controlled) machines, sanding the edges, polishing, strengthening, cleaning, coating, screen printing, baking, anti-shatter treatment, assembling, and packaging."

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said on Friday that the white iPhone 4 remains on track to ship by the end of July. He said quantities of the model will be limited at first, but will ramp up over time.

In June, Apple said in a press release that the white iPhone 4 has "proven more challenging to manufacture than expected." The white model has not been available since the iPhone 4 launched on June 24.
post #2 of 75
Well I hope they figure it out, because I really want another white iPhone to match my white iMac and white iBook. As these phones will be so rare at first, they will probably also be coveted more.
post #3 of 75
Oh man! I hope they figure this out somehow, soon. Otherwise, I am going to have a slightly unhappy person at home, who has been waiting (patiently, so far) on my advice. \
post #4 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

Besides I have mine in a case so you can't really see much.

I display *my* iPhone 3GS and the 3G before it in a Contour Design Showcase. It's *really* obvious that it's a white iPhone... (clear plastic panel showing the back of the phone)

The belt clip allows easy access to the phone and the case is great at absorbing the energy of impact. Mostly I just worry about picking up the phone rather than it's condition. At any moment it can find the phone, like recently where a rude FU Asian customer pushed by me, knocking it to the floor without sustaining any damage. My daughter has dropped it down a stairwell at school without harm.

The only change I'd *really* like is for Contour to epoxy the clip parts, rather than just melting four pins down a bit. I *do* pop that part. Oh, and something erroneously regarded as an issue is the case popping open sometimes when you drop it. I'd say the force used in opening the case releasing energy that would have gone into the phone instead, reducing potential damage.

Anyways, I'm waiting to replace my white iPhone 3GS with an iPhone 4, too. Oh, and cash flow is an issue, too.
post #5 of 75
Anybody figure out from this article whether the problem is the manufacture of white faceplates or both colors?
post #6 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A worker with the company's quality control department said that the company is still trying to work out the right balance of paint thickness and opacity, in order to ensure the panel allows enough space for the digitizer overlay, but also gives the level of white that Apple expects the product to have.

Industry sources also indicated that each machine owned by Lens Technology can only cut three iPhone 4 glass covers per hour. The report said that the company's current production capacity can only meet half of Apple's demand for the iPhone 4.

I can't believe that they did not work this out before things went into production. Hope that there will be no QC problems with the paint job.

Just how many machines are there cutting the glass panels?

Suggest that before releasing the white model, that they QC the white models to make sure that there no problems--Don't think that Steve wants to hold another news conference soon.
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post #7 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

I can't believe that they did not work this out before things went into production. Hope that there will be no QC problems with the paint job.

It's not a paint job.
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post #8 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

It's not a paint job.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A worker with the company's quality control department said that the company is still trying to work out the right balance of paint thickness and opacity, in order to ensure the panel allows enough space for the digitizer overlay, but also gives the level of white that Apple expects the product to have.

From reading the report--sounded like the panel was painted--but then again I could be wrong--no matter hope that they can meet production quotas otherwise there are going to be some angry people.
無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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post #9 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

From reading the report--sounded like the panel was painted--but then again I could be wrong--no matter hope that they can meet production quotas otherwise there are going to be some angry people.

One would have to be small-minded to think that by expressing anger they could speed up the manufacturing line.
post #10 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by 801 View Post

Anybody figure out from this article whether the problem is the manufacture of white faceplates or both colors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Industry sources also indicated that each machine owned by Lens Technology can only cut three iPhone 4 glass covers per hour. The report said that the company's current production capacity can only meet half of Apple's demand for the iPhone 4.

The article indicates that some of the problem is in the production of the glass panels for the iPhone 4. Cutting only 3/hour is slow so one machine can cut panels for 1.5 iPhone 4 per hour. There must be a lot of machines working over time to make production quotas. With the present capacity, only 1/2 of the demand is met, when you add in production for the white model this will drop--what the ratio between white to black models is anyone's guess--anyone know??\
無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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post #11 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by WestCoast View Post

One would have to be small-minded to think that by expressing anger they could speed up the manufacturing line.

No, but some people got free bumpers for their iPhone 4 by getting mad and complaining--whether this was justified or not----I'm not going to get into that argument.
無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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post #12 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukevaxhacker View Post

I display *my* iPhone 3GS and the 3G before it in a Contour Design Showcase. It's *really* obvious that it's a white iPhone... (clear plastic panel showing the back of the phone)

I had a black hard plastic case, can't remember who made it. On the three occasions I dropped my 3G phone, the case came apart and the naked phone jumped out onto the floor. Can't recommend it really. Hope Apple buys me a nice case. I'm using the Apple sock right now. All I could get. A phone made of glass really needs a case.
post #13 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by WestCoast View Post

One would have to be small-minded to think that by expressing anger they could speed up the manufacturing line.

If there is an extreme shortage of white iPhones once released, you bet I'm going to mad. I won't be mad and expect anything in return. I'll be mad for the simple fact that I've had to wait for a month and then still not be able to get one. It's not small-minded to express my anger.

It's simply frustrating to have had my mind made up since the announcement of this phone only to be let down severely on pre-order launch day with the announcement of the white iPhone status. 3 million people are already enjoying their black iPhone 4 while a lot of people have been patiently waiting for the white one. It just kind of sucks when you get down to it.

I can hold out though...
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post #14 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple4life07 View Post

If there is an extreme shortage of white iPhones once released, you bet I'm going to mad. I won't be mad and expect anything in return. I'll be mad for the simple fact that I've had to wait for a month and then still not be able to get one. It's not small-minded to express my anger.

It sure is if one hides behind the anonymity of the internet.

I can understand being frustrated. But anger? Either case, it won't speed up the manufacturing process. Turning idiots into lunatics faster…perhaps. And there appear to be a lot residing here.
post #15 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Details of the manufacturing difficulties Apple has faced in producing the white version of the iPhone 4 have been detailed in a new report, which suggests supply will be extremely limited when the devices launch later this month.

The alleged problems were revealed this week by Chinese-language newspaper 21st Century Business Herald, which said that the manufacturing issues come from a factory in China known as Lens Technology. A worker with the company's quality control department said that the company is still trying to work out the right balance of paint thickness and opacity, in order to ensure the panel allows enough space for the digitizer overlay, but also gives the level of white that Apple expects the product to have.

Industry sources also indicated that each machine owned by Lens Technology can only cut three iPhone 4 glass covers per hour. The report said that the company's current production capacity can only meet half of Apple's demand for the iPhone 4.

Demand for the iPhone 4 has been unprecedented, selling 1.7 million units -- available in black only -- in the first three days. It was the most successful product launch in Apple's history. Last week, the company announced it had sold more than 3 million in its first three weeks.

The process of developing the glass itself is also lengthy and tedious. As noted by Engadget, the manufacturing involves "developing the tooling, cutting the raw material (mainly sourced from Germany, Switzerland and Japan), fine-milling using CNC (computed numerically controlled) machines, sanding the edges, polishing, strengthening, cleaning, coating, screen printing, baking, anti-shatter treatment, assembling, and packaging."

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said on Friday that the white iPhone 4 remains on track to ship by the end of July. He said quantities of the model will be limited at first, but will ramp up over time.

In June, Apple said in a press release that the white iPhone 4 has "proven more challenging to manufacture than expected." The white model has not been available since the iPhone 4 launched on June 24.

so there is 200000 machines cutting glass??
60000 machines ??

i think AI got its rare sunday article wrong ?/

and the white will be a hot item

9
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post #16 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by WestCoast View Post

It sure is if one hides behind the anonymity of the internet.

I can understand being frustrated. But anger? Either case, it won't speed up the manufacturing process. Turning idiots into lunatics faster…perhaps. And there appear to be a lot residing here.

So explain to me how I get rid of the anonymous aspect on an internet forum? Sheesh. I've shared just as much frustration with co-workers, friends, and family.

It's easy to make a claim about someone being small-minded when you have the anonymity of the internet to hide behind.

I don't think you quite understand the idea of being small-minded. I can accept and understand production issues, but that doesn't mean I'm going to accept them with a . Rather, I'll accept them with a .

Edit: Frustration vs. anger. Now you're talking semantics. Who cares what emotion I choose. Yeah, I'll be a little frustrated and angry. You should probably be a little slower in your accusations claiming that there are a lot of idiots residing here regardless of how much truth lies in your accusation. It could possibly be a case of pot calling the kettle black.
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post #17 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

It's not a paint job.

Looks like the problem lies with the opacity of the paint. White paint may be more translucent than black, hence requiring a heavier coating just so the components inside don't show up as discoloring from the outside. Yet, if the paint is too thick they say it interferes with the digitizer overlay. \

I'm all for an unpainted, crystal clear iPhone 4.
post #18 of 75
I find it crazy that Apple has sold 3mn in 3 weeks, and its also probably the less desired model.

Expect iPhone 4 shortages for months...
post #19 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple4life07 View Post

If there is an extreme shortage of white iPhones once released, you bet I'm going to mad. I won't be mad and expect anything in return. I'll be mad for the simple fact that I've had to wait for a month and then still not be able to get one. It's not small-minded to express my anger.

It's simply frustrating to have had my mind made up since the announcement of this phone only to be let down severely on pre-order launch day with the announcement of the white iPhone status. 3 million people are already enjoying their black iPhone 4 while a lot of people have been patiently waiting for the white one. It just kind of sucks when you get down to it.

I can hold out though...

i find it odd how much at times we invest of ourselves in inatimate devices
for me the 15 MBP 3.02 GHZ was the cats meow .
yet i would never cross the line like the poster above and ponder and fret so much over a delayed color .

i hope your just blowing off steam ..if not consider speaking to someone .

either way goodluck dude i hope your white comes soon


peace 9
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post #20 of 75
That white is ugly. Who wants that? I like my phone the way I like my women, black.
post #21 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

i find it odd how much at times we invest of ourselves in inatimate devices
for me the 15 MBP 3.02 GHZ was the cats meow .
yet i would never cross the line like the poster above and ponder and fret so much over a delayed color .

i hope your just blowing off steam ..if not consider speaking to someone .

either way goodluck dude i hope your white comes soon

peace 9

Sweet Jesus, people. Apparently, you're all reading in to my posts too much. I'll be no less or more frustrated than any other person who has been waiting out for the white iPhone. Yes, I guess I'm blowing off steam after reading this article because it's not good news for those who are really wanting one.

And goodness, just because I want a white one doesn't mean I'm really invested in material things. If that were the case, I would have already gotten the black one. I spend little disposable cash, and when I do, it's on technology or traveling.

It's an internet forum, and clearly my intentions are getting misunderstood. I assure you, I'm not fretting over this...I'm able to happily sleep at night...just wish I could upgrade to the white one.

Side note: not a dude...I'm a chick
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post #22 of 75
I wonder if the White is going to take part in the international launch on July 30th. I've already got the friday morning off to be able to camp in front of the store the night before and stay there until it opens. I'm getting as many as I can.
post #23 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jz1492 View Post

Looks like the problem lies with the opacity of the paint. White paint may be more translucent than black, hence requiring a heavier coating just so the components inside don't show up as discoloring from the outside. Yet, if the paint is too thick they say it interferes with the digitizer overlay. \

I'm all for an unpainted, crystal clear iPhone 4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

From reading the report--sounded like the panel was painted--but then again I could be wrong--no matter hope that they can meet production quotas otherwise there are going to be some angry people.

It's pigmented aluminosilicate glass. The pigment is part of the glass, not painted on the surface.

Then the surface is coated with a clear oleophobic coating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Oh man! I hope they figure this out somehow, soon. Otherwise, I am going to have a slightly unhappy person at home, who has been waiting (patiently, so far) on my advice. \

They shipped 1.7 M the first day and passed 3 M less than a month later. They're making a ton of them. Why get worked up about an anonymous report?

The black one is shipping within 3 weeks -- about the same as it has been since just before the launch, so production is keeping up with orders. The white one is a different issue - presumably due to the difficulty of making a flawless white glass.
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post #24 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The black one is shipping within 3 weeks -- about the same as it has been since just before the launch, so production is keeping up with orders. The white one is a different issue - presumably due to the difficulty of making a flawless white glass.

It's strange that Apple's ship time is still 3 weeks. We just ordered my husband's today at a local AT&T store and had it shipped to our house. They said it would be here within 5-10 business days.

Hopefully the fact that they are reportedly only producing 3 glass components an hour means they're taking their time in production to make sure the white is flawless.
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post #25 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

I can't believe that they did not work this out before things went into production. Hope that there will be no QC problems with the paint job.

Just how many machines are there cutting the glass panels?

Suggest that before releasing the white model, that they QC the white models to make sure that there no problems--Don't think that Steve wants to hold another news conference soon.

If Steve has to meet the press with another "issue", he'll just come out to center stage and say, "Free White cases!" and then walk off stage.

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post #26 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple4life07 View Post

So explain to me how I get rid of the anonymous aspect on an internet forum? Sheesh. I've shared just as much frustration with co-workers, friends, and family.

It's easy to make a claim about someone being small-minded when you have the anonymity of the internet to hide behind.

I don't think you quite understand the idea of being small-minded. I can accept and understand production issues, but that doesn't mean I'm going to accept them with a . Rather, I'll accept them with a .

Edit: Frustration vs. anger. Now you're talking semantics. Who cares what emotion I choose. Yeah, I'll be a little frustrated and angry. You should probably be a little slower in your accusations claiming that there are a lot of idiots residing here regardless of how much truth lies in your accusation. It could possibly be a case of pot calling the kettle black.

don't ever buy a ferrari or a boeing 787 unless you want to take grumbling lessons.
post #27 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

so there is 200000 machines cutting glass??
60000 machines ??

No, just five heavily overworked Chinese nine-year olds.

/snark

GTSC
post #28 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple4life07 View Post

Sweet Jesus, people. Apparently, you're all reading in to my posts too much. I'll be no less or more frustrated than any other person who has been waiting out for the white iPhone. Yes, I guess I'm blowing off steam after reading this article because it's not good news for those who are really wanting one.

And goodness, just because I want a white one doesn't mean I'm really invested in material things. If that were the case, I would have already gotten the black one. I spend little disposable cash, and when I do, it's on technology or traveling.

It's an internet forum, and clearly my intentions are getting misunderstood. I assure you, I'm not fretting over this...I'm able to happily sleep at night...just wish I could upgrade to the white one.

Side note: not a dude...I'm a chick

dude is non genderous

sorry if i over read your post
goodluck carmel
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post #29 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalf the Semi-Coherent View Post

No, just five heavily overworked Chinese nine-year olds.

/snark

GTSC

maybe this will replace the antenna fiasco
the missing white phones !!!
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post #30 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

It was the most successful product launch in Apple's history.

With the clumsy launch day with internet problems, the antenna issues and the ongoing supply debacle? I'd say as a launch it rated 2nd on the disaster scale to the me.com meltdown. Popular product? Yes. Best launch ever? That sounds more like the corporate hyperbole I'd expect from Cupertino.



Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said on Friday that the white iPhone 4 remains on track to ship by the end of July.

If they ship so much as one phone, this statement can still be true. But supply issues again? You don't say.

3 phones an hour... that's pretty funny
post #31 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

That white is ugly. Who wants that? I like my phone the way I like my women, black.

Well, I love and married a Hispanic woman.

Where is my color?
post #32 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by WestCoast View Post

It sure is if one hides behind the anonymity of the internet.

I can understand being frustrated. But anger? Either case, it won't speed up the manufacturing process. Turning idiots into lunatics fasterperhaps. And there appear to be a lot residing here.

What do you want everyone to do, include their phone numbers on their posts? Would that give everyone the right to voice their opinions?

You don't have to understand anger. What you do need to understand is that anyone can have any emotion they please, any time.

If you don't like the crowd, get lost.
post #33 of 75
I like the Contour showcase, have one for my 1/2g iPhone. They have a coming soon up on their site but no pics of what it looks like for the 4g.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lukevaxhacker View Post

I display *my* iPhone 3GS and the 3G before it in a Contour Design Showcase. It's *really* obvious that it's a white iPhone... (clear plastic panel showing the back of the phone)

The belt clip allows easy access to the phone and the case is great at absorbing the energy of impact. Mostly I just worry about picking up the phone rather than it's condition. At any moment it can find the phone, like recently where a rude FU Asian customer pushed by me, knocking it to the floor without sustaining any damage. My daughter has dropped it down a stairwell at school without harm.

The only change I'd *really* like is for Contour to epoxy the clip parts, rather than just melting four pins down a bit. I *do* pop that part. Oh, and something erroneously regarded as an issue is the case popping open sometimes when you drop it. I'd say the force used in opening the case releasing energy that would have gone into the phone instead, reducing potential damage.

Anyways, I'm waiting to replace my white iPhone 3GS with an iPhone 4, too. Oh, and cash flow is an issue, too.
post #34 of 75
Dear Apple,

What the US needs right now are some more manufacturing jobs for the many people here, in the US, that currently do not have jobs.

If you're having issues getting enough production out of your factories in lands far away, perhaps consider building a few of them here so you could be one of the few electronics manufacturers that can say Made in the USA.

There are many people looking for a job in the US so you should have no problems finding people willing to work for you at a minimal wage. It may not be quite as cheap as those foreign countries we are all becoming way to dependent on for EVERYTHING (which can be a problem), but your margins are so high I think you may be able to afford it.

After all, when I'm ready to buy my two iPhone 4's later this year...I actually want some to be available.

Think Different...make different.
post #35 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by ernstcs View Post

Dear Apple,

What the US needs right now are some more manufacturing jobs for the many people here, in the US, that currently do not have jobs.

If you're having issues getting enough production out of your factories in lands far away, perhaps consider building a few of them here so you could be one of the few electronics manufacturers that can say Made in the USA.
Think Different...make different.

I like this idea. You should email jobs with this.
post #36 of 75
Sounds like some serious manufacturing inefficiency...
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post #37 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Oh man! I hope they figure this out somehow, soon. Otherwise, I am going to have a slightly unhappy person at home, who has been waiting (patiently, so far) on my advice. \

-> http://www.zagg.com/personalize/zagg...sign/white.php
post #38 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

I would like to have ordered a white one but I couldn't wait. My iPhone 3G was rendered useless by iOS4 and I wasn't going to keep paying on a contract for a device that I can't use. Didn't want to cancel and renew later and loose my grandfathered limited unlimited plan either. Besides I have mine in a case so you can't really see much.

I don't understand why you can't order one on the website and get the clock started. They don't even have one on display at my Apple Store.

I should order ten of them and put them on eBay. Rabid Apple fanbois will suck them right up. SLURP!!

I think its a bit extreme to say that iOS4 renders the 3G useless. I have it on my 3G and although its a bit slow at points, in general it performs fine.

That said, you can remove it. Just google "How I removed iOS4 from my iPhone 3G" - step by step instructions anyone can follow. I did it and know it works. That said, I went back to 4 because I really like the additional benefits.
post #39 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by nealg View Post

I like this idea. You should email jobs with this.

Seconded. It would make the users happy.

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iPod, iPad, iPad2, iPad 3, iPad Mini, iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, AppleTV (1,2 & 3), 13" MacBook Pro, 24" Cinema Display, Time Capsule, 21.5" iMac (Mid 2011)

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post #40 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

Well, I love and married a Hispanic woman.

Where is my color?

Haha, Hispanic women are hot but I don't think there would be much demand for a brown iPhone

iPod, iPad, iPad2, iPad 3, iPad Mini, iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, AppleTV (1,2 & 3), 13" MacBook Pro, 24" Cinema Display, Time Capsule, 21.5" iMac (Mid 2011)

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iPod, iPad, iPad2, iPad 3, iPad Mini, iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, AppleTV (1,2 & 3), 13" MacBook Pro, 24" Cinema Display, Time Capsule, 21.5" iMac (Mid 2011)

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