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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 75
    trajectorytrajectory Posts: 647member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 75
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,052member
    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. \
  • Reply 3 of 75
    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!!
  • Reply 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.
  • Reply 5 of 75
    801801 Posts: 271member
    Anybody figure out from this article whether the problem is the manufacture of white faceplates or both colors?
  • Reply 6 of 75
    finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 75
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 75
    finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    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.
  • Reply 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.
  • Reply 10 of 75
    finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    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??\
  • Reply 11 of 75
    finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 75
    jerseymacjerseymac Posts: 408member
    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.
  • Reply 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...
  • Reply 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.
  • Reply 15 of 75
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    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
  • Reply 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.
  • Reply 17 of 75
    jz1492jz1492 Posts: 41member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 75
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 822member
    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...
  • Reply 19 of 75
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    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
  • Reply 20 of 75
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    That white is ugly. Who wants that? I like my phone the way I like my women, black.
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