Increased iPhone 5 Quality Control Standards to Address Scratches Slowing Production

Bloomberg takes a look at the situation surrounding scratching and scuffing of the iPhone 5's aluminum shell, an issue we noted just hours after the device's launch. According to today's report, Apple has indeed increased quality control standards to reduce the number of devices that are delivered with scratches right out of the box, but the move has slowed production on the new iPhone.

The scrapes, which sparked complaints with the iPhone's debut last month, are due to Apple's decision to use a type of aluminum that helps make the smartphone thinner and lighter. Senior Apple managers told executives at Foxconn near the end of September to tighten production standards, said the person, who asked not to be named because the matter was private.

Stricter benchmarks have hampered production of the iPhone 5's anodized aluminum housings, forcing Foxconn's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. to idle factories, the person said.

Specifically, the report claims that Foxconn had to halt assembly work at one of its plants on October 6 because of a lack rear shell parts.


Intentionally scratched black iPhone 5 showing silver color underneath

The tightened quality control standards have increased stress on workers responsible for manufacturing the parts, with Foxconn employees interviewed for the story noting that every single step of the manufacturing and assembly process has the potential to scratch the soft metal, resulting in a significant number of the metal iPhone bodies not making it through the process cleanly.

The increased tensions among workers reportedly led to thousands of Foxconn workers briefly going on strike over the issue late last week, although Foxconn denied that there was any such action.

Top Rated Comments

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105 months ago
what's the point?

This will minimize disappointment when people open the box, but they are not addressing the real issue: This thing SCRATCHES EASILY. So if the poor Foxconn employee makes a scratch free unit, it is only a matter of days (hours) before you yourself scratch it!
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
105 months ago

there's a "bendgate" brewing too


To be followed by "gate gate" where people feel an overwhelming compulsion to blow things out of proportion and slap the word "gate at the end of everything. Oh, wait. We're already there.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
105 months ago
My 2¢

They should be doing type III anodizing instead of II. Also known as Hard Anodizing. The colors would be richer and less likely to scratch. The problem with type III is that is doubles the amount of time to anodize.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
105 months ago

To be followed by "gate gate" where people feel an overwhelming compulsion to blow things out of proportion and slap the word "gate at the end of everything. Oh, wait. We're already there.


I dub your post whinegate
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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105 months ago
I'm half expecting my iPhone 5 to come scratched with a message on the back. "Help! I've not slept in days!"
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
105 months ago

This will minimize disappointment when people open the box, but they are not addressing the real issue: This thing SCRATCHES EASILY. So if the poor Foxconn employee makes a scratch free unit, it is only a matter of days (hours) before you yourself scratch it!

Mine hasn't scratched yet and I got mine 10 days ago. I have the black version, the one where scratches show more easily. When I put my iPhone 5 in my pocket, I place it in a poorly fitting Xqisit case that I earlier used for my iPhone 3GS. (I'm waiting for the BookBook for iPhone 5 case to be released) When I sit in front of a computer or watch TV at home, I have it outside my case. When I sleep, I have it outside my case on my nightstand. I don't really see why it should scratch the forthcoming 10 days either. Sure, if I just shove it down my pocket along with some coins or keys, but not if I handle it like I did with my 3GS. Yes, if I slide it across a table and there's debris on it, but I won't do that as I have no reason to. It'll scratch after a while though, but this is not unusual for phones you use daily.

Finally, I think the photo Macrumors keep using is a poor choice and exaggerating the issue. This is still that photo from the guy who ruined hardware that wasn't his by intentionally scratching it, just to make a point. Ugh. That can't even have been a legal action, but somehow it's proudly used here and elsewhere. It's not a scratch from normal wear and tear.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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