Although the form factor of the iPhone 4 / 4S was relatively compact and by no means bulky to hold, the recent release of the iPhone 5 has left many consumers amazed at just how much thinner and lighter Apple has managed to go with regards to design. Svelte it may be, but packing in the (improved) technology took a lot of effort, and while Jony Ive and team would have thrown quite a few pieces of paper into the waste-basket in trying to get the radical interior reshuffle to work out, the main manufacturer of the device – Foxconn – also had a few headaches.
In fact, a Foxconn official has spoken up about the task the China-based outfit has had in meticulously piecing every iPhone 5 together, describing it as by far the most difficult device the company has ever had to assemble. In correspondence with The Wall Street Journal, the unnamed official said the iPhone 5 is "the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled," and as such, constraints on production have also arisen.
As the company learns to get to grips with the meticulously-arranged smartphone, things will get better for Foxconn, according to the anonymous spokesman, and as such, production of the iPhone 5 should be as streamlined as it has been with past iterations of the Cupertino company’s iconic handset.
Indeed, productivity is already said to be improving by the week, while more stringent quality checks have been put into place in order to reduce damage caused by the scratch-prone backplate. Although it hasn’t blown up into another post-launch fiasco as with Antennagate, the issue of the anodized exterior being prone to scratching has been a trending topic, and with some finding scuffs and dings right out of the box, Foxconn is looking to get itself in better order.
Interestingly, the riots reported last month at one of Foxconn’s main plants originated due to an initial conflict between quality checkers and assembly line workers, so it’s not surprising to learn Foxconn is revising its strategies as the iPhone 5 continues to launch throughout the world. Workers have pointed out the susceptibility to scratching of the metal material, making it more difficult for a "perfect" final unit to be achieved, and as such, it’s proving to be the hardest to get right on a repeated basis.
The backplate of the iPad Mini is expected to include a similar material as the iPhone 5 when announced next week, so it’ll be intriguing to see whether it – and its manufacturers – face more of the same issues.