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Foxconn says iPhone 5 is 'the most difficult device' it's ever assembled

post #1 of 59
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An official with Foxconn has explained that Apple's new iPhone 5 is the most difficult device the company has ever had to assemble, leading to constraints in production.

An unnamed person who spoke with The Wall Street Journal said the iPhone 5 is "the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled." They said that improvements would come over time, and that productivity at Foxconn's plants in assembling the iPhone 5 has already increased on a daily basis.

Foxconn has reportedly already taken steps to improve output and address quality issues, including scratches on the metal casings. A new quality check at Foxconn's plants was implemented to reduce damages.

The anonymous source also admitted that a riot that occurred last month at a Foxconn plant was related to the metal casing and other "quality issues" with the new iPhone 5. The conflict reportedly arose between assembly line workers and onsite quality inspectors.

Once the iPhone 5 began arriving in users' hands, some noticed that the device would pick up scuffs more easily than Apple's previous model. Some even found that their newly purchased handset had blemishes right out of the box.

Scuffgate

Source: @Stormsein via Twitter


The comments from the unnamed Foxconn official lend support to previous rumors that indicated quality issues with the iPhone 5's aluminum chassis had slowed production. Senior Apple managers allegedly instructed Foxconn executives to tighten quality control measures shortly after the iPhone 5 launched in September.

Workers have indicated that the soft metal shell of the iPhone 5 is prone to scratches in all phases of assembly, which makes it difficult to deliver a perfect final unit. As a result, fewer aluminum chassis can pass through the tightened quality control standards.
post #2 of 59
And here I thought all the time it was the International Space Station!
post #3 of 59
Another hit piece by WSJ disguiesd as news. Based on this report, the shysters will come out stating that apple iPhone 5 sales are dismal.
post #4 of 59
But I thought it was just a stretched 4S? How can that be difficult to produce? /s
post #5 of 59

Those Foxconn workers should assemble the iPhone 5 on desks covered with velvet fabric.  That way the crybabies will get a pristine product until they scratch it themselves five minutes after they open the box.  Put it in a proper case and they'll never even see the scratches.  No matter what Apple tries to do, they'll get in hot water with the news media for their pains.

post #6 of 59
I'm not surprised that this phone is hard to produce. In the video on http://www.apple.com/iphone/#video they use precision machines to chamfer the sides of the glass and some parts of the body. I'm not sure these techniques are appropriate for a mass produced object like an iphone. But if they can pull it off, then bravo.
post #7 of 59
I'm still waiting for my iPhone 5... says estimated delivery date is Nov 4th. I can't wait and I am sure I'll love it, but Apple doesn't really need to make practical devices, like phones, so delicate. My 3 year old 3Gs is full of little dinks and scratches, that's what happens with devices you use daily.

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Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others.
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post #8 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathillien View Post


If it is prone to scratches in all phases of assembly I imagine it would be prone to scratches forever after as well.
Yes I know it's obvious, never the less it is a fact.
But any case or pouch would resolve this issue though.

While that case or pouch would scuff it as well...

post #9 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by rupert1020 View Post

I'm not surprised that this phone is hard to produce. In the video on http://www.apple.com/iphone/#video they use precision machines to chamfer the sides of the glass and some parts of the body. I'm not sure these techniques are appropriate for a mass produced object like an iphone. But if they can pull it off, then bravo.
Earlier this year in an interview Jony Ive said that industrial design is part fine art, part engineering. Seems to me with the iPhone 5 they're still trying to get that balance right. Though I've had a white one for 3 weeks now and not a nick or scratch on it. Of course I'm being extra careful with how I handle it.
post #10 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Earlier this year in an interview Jony Ive said that industrial design is part fine art, part engineering. Seems to me with the iPhone 5 they're still trying to get that balance right. Though I've had a white one for 3 weeks now and not a nick or scratch on it. Of course I'm being extra careful with how I handle it.

I had my 64GB for 3 weeks before returning it for a 16GB model. Don't need the extra capacity since I moved to iTunes Match. It was really a pointless return because it's not like I lose $200 from the resale of that model and the AppleCare+ becomes even more valuable for that model.

Anyway, the new one had 3 nicks on the metal casing next to the glass. They opened up another box and it had the nicks in the same general place. I kept the one with the nicks, that looks like they happened from machining, as I'm sure I'll scratch it myself and it sill works the same.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #11 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by rupert1020 View Post

I'm not surprised that this phone is hard to produce. In the video on http://www.apple.com/iphone/#video they use precision machines to chamfer the sides of the glass and some parts of the body. I'm not sure these techniques are appropriate for a mass produced object like an iphone. But if they can pull it off, then bravo.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post

I'm still waiting for my iPhone 5... says estimated delivery date is Nov 4th. I can't wait and I am sure I'll love it, but Apple doesn't really need to make practical devices, like phones, so delicate. My 3 year old 3Gs is full of little dinks and scratches, that's what happens with devices you use daily.

I've had the '5' since release and still marvel at its beauty. 'Elegant sophistication' is the expression that comes to mind.

 

I believe that the iPhone 5 takes Apple closer to fully automated construction, this article does not surprise me at all in that respect. Highlighting in their video the use of high fidelity imaging and precision, automated parts selection highlights the direction Apple is going in. Full automation is inevitable and perhaps sooner, rather than later.  I'm certain that Apple has a test line somewhere developing the technologies.

 

All the best.

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post #12 of 59
Guess they should have made the chassis out of the mimetic polymetal licensed from that company - what's it's name.
post #13 of 59
I'm going to pass until they fix these problems.

You know, my janky Samsung Rugby II that work gave me is extremely durable. Of course, it's a "feature" phone, but you have to give a company points for durability.

My iPhone 4S is pretty durable and looked great out of the box.

Too bad Apple has to make something that's easily prone to scratching or so difficult to assemble, that there are nicks. No thanks.

Yes, my iPhone 4S is in an inCase slider case (which is great).
post #14 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by pfisher View Post

I'm going to pass until they fix these problems.
You know, my janky Samsung Rugby II that work gave me is extremely durable. Of course, it's a "feature" phone, but you have to give a company points for durability.
My iPhone 4S is pretty durable and looked great out of the box.
Too bad Apple has to make something that's easily prone to scratching or so difficult to assemble, that there are nicks. No thanks.
Yes, my iPhone 4S is in an inCase slider case (which is great).

So if it capable of being scratched then it's not durable? You might want to consider how people covet something poorly made over something cheap. A $100k car is harder to scratch* than a $10k car but the value (whether real or perceived) means people with the $100k car are more likely to take notice with any manufacturer before leaving the lot and be more adamant about getting it resolved. Apple didn't invent this mentality in buyers.

* More layers of paint, higher quality paint, harder and thicker clear coat.
Edited by SolipsismX - 10/17/12 at 7:13am

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post #15 of 59
I've received 3 iPhone 5 units from my carrier and returned them all because they contained scratches out of the box. Though some people say this is being petty, I think it's entirely normal to expect a brand new item to be scratch-free. Would you accept a newly purchased car with scratches? A handbag? Is it OK for a sandwich to have a bite taken out of it, since you were going to take that bite anyway? If you look at the demo units in stores, they are pretty heavily scratched up after only a couple weeks. For a company with such strong emphasis on design and the aesthetic appeal of their products, this is pretty appalling. I'm a heavy user of Apple products, but I'm now thinking of opting for a Windows phone.
post #16 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


So if it capable of being scratched then it's not durable? You might want to consider how people covet something poorly made over something cheap. A $100k car is harder to scratch than a $10k car but the value (whether real or perceived) means people with the $100k car are more likely to take notice with any manufacturer before leaving the lot and be more adamant about getting it resolved. Apple didn't invent this mentality in buyers.

 

Excellent analogy.  EVERY phone is capable of being scratched.

 

Every cellphone/smartphone I've owned has ended up dropped, scratched or beat up.  Why?  Because its the device I generally use the most all day, its in my pocket, my jacket, my bookbag, my gymbag, my car, my desk, my house, even my bed.  Knowing that, is why I use a case.. and why a case provides the extra protection a person like me needs.  Its not Apple's fault that I drop, scratch or beat up my electronics.  And having a plastic Samsung phone for work.. it also gets subject to exact same abuse.  

 

But the different is.. my job will easily replace or repair my beat up plastic Samsung phone.  The iPhone on the other hand, I paid $750 for.. and will purposely be more careful with it, because I have to cover that cost to replace.  Either way.. the plastic Samsung phone is no more durable than the glass/aluminum iPhone.. but its value means much less to me.  And therefore I am much more careless with it.

post #17 of 59

Just like I said on other social media sites.  

 

I believe the vast majority of people "claiming" they arent buying the iPhone5 for various reasons like this (scratchgate, antennagate, mapgate, etc).. had no intention of getting it in the first place.  I'm not calling them liars.  But they might as well be saying that the $100k Porsche 911 they were "planning" to buy.. gets 1mpg less than what the sticker says.. so thats why they arent getting it lol.  Yeah right buddy.. like you were ever getting it.

post #18 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahhk22 View Post

...I'm a heavy user of Apple products, but I'm now thinking of opting for a Windows phone.

 

Missing 's' tag right? Please say it is so! Not that I'm pleading for my sake...

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post #19 of 59

Foxconn says iPhone 5 is 'the most difficult device' it's ever assembled

 

Becoming better through challenge and adversity. 

 

A little challenge is good now and then. 

post #20 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by rupert1020 View Post

I'm not surprised that this phone is hard to produce. In the video on http://www.apple.com/iphone/#video they use precision machines to chamfer the sides of the glass and some parts of the body. I'm not sure these techniques are appropriate for a mass produced object like an iphone. But if they can pull it off, then bravo.

 

The video does not show machining of the glass. The chamfer is on the aluminum. Precision machining is regularly used for mass production. Granted, the sheer volume of iPhone production is unprecedented. But precision machining  is not why phones are leaving the factory with scratches.

post #21 of 59

After owning every generation of iPhone, I can say in my experience that the 5 is easily the one most prone to scratches. Some of you get so defensive when articles like this come out, but facts are facts. Doesn't mean the phone is a POS or anything like that, though.

post #22 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahhk22 View Post

I've received 3 iPhone 5 units from my carrier and returned them all because they contained scratches out of the box. Though some people say this is being petty, I think it's entirely normal to expect a brand new item to be scratch-free. Would you accept a newly purchased car with scratches? A handbag? Is it OK for a sandwich to have a bite taken out of it, since you were going to take that bite anyway? If you look at the demo units in stores, they are pretty heavily scratched up after only a couple weeks. For a company with such strong emphasis on design and the aesthetic appeal of their products, this is pretty appalling. I'm a heavy user of Apple products, but I'm now thinking of opting for a Windows phone.

I would not say you are petty. I would say you are a fabulist.

post #23 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathillien View Post


If it is prone to scratches in all phases of assembly I imagine it would be prone to scratches forever after as well.
Yes I know it's obvious, never the less it is a fact.


It may be obvious, but it is wrong in general. The fact that iPhone 5 may be prone to scratches as a finished product is not necessarily related to whether it is prone to scratches during assembly.

post #24 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

That way the crybabies will get a pristine product until they scratch it themselves five minutes after they open the box.  Put it in a proper case and they'll never even see the scratches. 

 

What an absolutely ridiculous thing to say. Your willingness to defend Apple to the hilt makes your post laughable.

 

What the hell is crybabyish about expecting a product to be in perfect condition straight out of the box? Would you say that about any other product?

 

Furthermore, you're saying that buyers should just accept scratched products, because the scratches are invisible in a case?!

 

People like you make me ashamed to own Apple products. Absolutely risible.

post #25 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Those Foxconn workers should assemble the iPhone 5 on desks covered with velvet fabric.  That way the crybabies will get a pristine product until they scratch it themselves five minutes after they open the box.  Put it in a proper case and they'll never even see the scratches.  No matter what Apple tries to do, they'll get in hot water with the news media for their pains.
Sad but so true!! The SNL iPhone 5 skit sums it all up. I listen to a podcast call Tech News Today, they found the video mildly amusing.... Too "close to home" I guess. The skit was hilarious, to me.
post #26 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post

I'm still waiting for my iPhone 5... says estimated delivery date is Nov 4th. I can't wait and I am sure I'll love it, but Apple doesn't really need to make practical devices, like phones, so delicate. My 3 year old 3Gs is full of little dinks and scratches, that's what happens with devices you use daily.
Not so delicate... Search android central for the S3 vs IPhone 5 drop test.
post #27 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

But I thought it was just a stretched 4S? How can that be difficult to produce? /s

They totally underestimated the time it needs to stretch a 4S 20%.

 

As it is I am still waiting for my iP5 to arrive, which I ordered more than 2 weeks ago. 1hmm.gif

post #28 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahhk22 View Post

I've received 3 iPhone 5 units from my carrier and returned them all because they contained scratches out of the box. Though some people say this is being petty, I think it's entirely normal to expect a brand new item to be scratch-free. Would you accept a newly purchased car with scratches? A handbag? Is it OK for a sandwich to have a bite taken out of it, since you were going to take that bite anyway? If you look at the demo units in stores, they are pretty heavily scratched up after only a couple weeks. For a company with such strong emphasis on design and the aesthetic appeal of their products, this is pretty appalling. I'm a heavy user of Apple products, but I'm now thinking of opting for a Windows phone.

By the way, I checked all the black iPhone 5s on the table at the Thousand Oaks CA Apple store. Only two had tiny nicks at the border between the bevel and the side surface. And at the bottom, slight scuffing where people fumble for the connector.

That's all. I asked one employee if they had changed out the demos since the first day in the stores, he said "No, they're the same ones."

The scratchability of anodized aluminum is something we have to put up with, have been for years, but it just became an issue with this piece of industrial art that we carry around with us everywhere. Cars get scratches and dings, shoes get scuffs, what's the big deal?
post #29 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahhk22 View Post

I've received 3 iPhone 5 units from my carrier and returned them all because they contained scratches out of the box. Though some people say this is being petty, I think it's entirely normal to expect a brand new item to be scratch-free. Would you accept a newly purchased car with scratches? A handbag? Is it OK for a sandwich to have a bite taken out of it, since you were going to take that bite anyway? If you look at the demo units in stores, they are pretty heavily scratched up after only a couple weeks. For a company with such strong emphasis on design and the aesthetic appeal of their products, this is pretty appalling. I'm a heavy user of Apple products, but I'm now thinking of opting for a Windows phone.

 

 

Uh.. Oh.. outch..  Now Apple is doomed!

 

And good luck with your scratch free MSFT phone. Are they not all plastic?

post #30 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahblade View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Those Foxconn workers should assemble the iPhone 5 on desks covered with velvet fabric.  That way the crybabies will get a pristine product until they scratch it themselves five minutes after they open the box.  Put it in a proper case and they'll never even see the scratches.  No matter what Apple tries to do, they'll get in hot water with the news media for their pains.
Sad but so true!! The SNL iPhone 5 skit sums it all up. I listen to a podcast call Tech News Today, they found the video mildly amusing.... Too "close to home" I guess. The skit was hilarious, to me.

This one?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ybDKfGEw4aU#t=254s

It does help put a little perspective on things. The volume of phones being made is high too - over 400,000 a day. Trying to ensure that low-paid workers churn out flawless devices must be pretty difficult.

Maybe Apple should just sell ones that don't pass the QA as refurbs. When you buy a refurb, you expect a little cosmetic damage and they wouldn't go to waste.
post #31 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahblade View Post


Not so delicate... Search android central for the S3 vs IPhone 5 drop test.

 

The iPhone 5 does blend better, however:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rofgMueCOqo

post #32 of 59
If people are getting scuffed iPhones out of the box surely that is a manufacturing issue which needs to be fixed. This phone may be more prone to scuffing or scratches but some of the claims I hear seem far fetched. One that I saw on MR was someone who claims they got a perfect device out of the box but just setting it on their coffee table after taking it out of the box caused scuffs. Sorry but I have a hard time believing that.
post #33 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daekwan View Post

Just like I said on other social media sites.  

 

I believe the vast majority of people "claiming" they arent buying the iPhone5 for various reasons like this (scratchgate, antennagate, mapgate, etc).. had no intention of getting it in the first place.  I'm not calling them liars.  But they might as well be saying that the $100k Porsche 911 they were "planning" to buy.. gets 1mpg less than what the sticker says.. so thats why they arent getting it lol.  Yeah right buddy.. like you were ever getting it.


I disagree to some degree. I do see your point.

 

My sister is going to get an iPhone and she's getting the 4S due to the scratch stories and new phones out of the box with imperfections. I wanted to get the iPhone 5, but I'm holding off as long as possible. Probably iPhone 6 they fix these issues? Frequently, Apple comes out with something new (which is great), but then has to fix whatever issues came with it being new. Of course, a case will help a lot with new phones.

post #34 of 59

Apple should have used the same side and back as the white phone on the black phone. It would still look good and would not show scratches like the dark anodized aluminum. Personally I think that would look better than the all black model.

post #35 of 59
Being hard to assemble by Foxconn and even harder to use without scratching shows that the choice of this type of aluminum for a cellphone is not exactly the best. While this Aluminum case achieves thinner and lighter dimensions it also does not live up to the durability and quality many customers expect and need.
While I think the Iphone5 is truly great, I hate to see what the case will look like after a year of use.
post #36 of 59

Hey Foxconn: be careful what you wish for.

 

You want a simpler design that's easier to assemble?  Well if it's simple enough, it could be assembled by robots.  They don't strike, they don't start brawls with quality inspectors, and they cost about the same no matter which country they're working in.  Apple could build robotic assembly lines in many areas of the world and eliminate worldwide shipping costs from China (and Brazil.)

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post #37 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by BUSHMAN4 View Post

Being hard to assemble by Foxconn and even harder to use without scratching shows that the choice of this type of aluminum for a cellphone is not exactly the best. While this Aluminum case achieves thinner and lighter dimensions it also does not live up to the durability and quality many customers expect and need.
While I think the Iphone5 is truly great, I hate to see what the case will look like after a year of use.


Writing nonsense like "the choice of this type of aluminum" shows you are unqualified to comment on this topic. What type of aluminum is it? Is it a different "type" than the aluminum used on other smartphones? And the aluminum back here is NOT a case, but your comment is definitely a case of "bush league".


Edited by Harbinger - 10/17/12 at 1:39pm
post #38 of 59
Apple causes some of their own grief. I just got my IP5 last night and upon REALLY close inspection. There are a lot of nicks on the edge. If Apple hadn't made the video showing the method that the phone's bezel was made, it would be a non-issue. However, they make it sound like you are buying a Rolex. And now we are expecting that kind of precision. Maybe Apple should lower the hype a bit, as well as the stringent production standard. More people would have an iPhone 5 in their hands, the stock would be higher and websites would lose much of their "Click Revenue" from articles like this

I must say, the first thing you notice when you hold it is the reduced weight compared to the iPhone 4. It deceivingly feels cheaper due to it's light weight. And it only feels that way because I'm so use to holding my iPhone 4. It will definitely make it easier to hold on long conversations. I really like the improved camera in low light. It's a huge improvement in two years.
post #39 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Hey Foxconn: be careful what you wish for.

 

You want a simpler design that's easier to assemble?  Well if it's simple enough, it could be assembled by robots.  They don't strike, they don't start brawls with quality inspectors, and they cost about the same no matter which country they're working in. 


Whether something can be assembled by robot or not has NOTHING to do with simplicity of design. There are many complex designs that can ONLY be assembled by robots. Robots do NOT cost the same in every country. Try getting a quote from Fanuc, Adept, Kuka ABB and even Samsung from different countries and you will understand.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post
Apple could build robotic assembly lines in many areas of the world and eliminate worldwide shipping costs from China (and Brazil.)

 

You didn't get Tim's memo about China being a strategic market, as in the biggest market in the world? Build your phones elsewhere and show me how you ship them to China when you have eliminated shipping costs.

post #40 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmikeo View Post

Apple causes some of their own grief. I just got my IP5 last night and upon REALLY close inspection. There are a lot of nicks on the edge. If Apple hadn't made the video showing the method that the phone's bezel was made, it would be a non-issue. However, they make it sound like you are buying a Rolex. And now we are expecting that kind of precision. Maybe Apple should lower the hype a bit, as well as the stringent production standard. More people would have an iPhone 5 in their hands, the stock would be higher and websites would lose much of their "Click Revenue" from articles like this
I must say, the first thing you notice when you hold it is the reduced weight compared to the iPhone 4. It deceivingly feels cheaper due to it's light weight. And it only feels that way because I'm so use to holding my iPhone 4. It will definitely make it easier to hold on long conversations. I really like the improved camera in low light. It's a huge improvement in two years.


The video does not show how the "bezel" is made.

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