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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    And here I thought all the time it was the International Space Station!
  • Reply 2 of 60
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 60
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    But I thought it was just a stretched 4S? How can that be difficult to produce? /s
  • Reply 4 of 60


    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.

  • Reply 5 of 60
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 60
    zoolookzoolook Posts: 657member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 60

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    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.




    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.

  • Reply 8 of 60

    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...

  • Reply 9 of 60
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    rupert1020 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 60
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    rogifan wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 60
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,539member

    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.

  • Reply 12 of 60
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,558member
    Guess they should have made the chassis out of the mimetic polymetal licensed from that company - what's it's name.
  • Reply 13 of 60
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member
    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).
  • Reply 14 of 60
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    pfisher wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 60
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 60
    DaekwanDaekwan Posts: 171member

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 60
    DaekwanDaekwan Posts: 171member


    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.

  • Reply 18 of 60
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,539member

    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...

  • Reply 19 of 60
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,735member


    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. 

  • Reply 20 of 60

    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.

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