Foxconn says the iPhone 5 is the most difficult device they've ever assembled, hopes practice will make perfect

Foxconn says the iPhone 5 is the most difficult device they're ever assembled, hopes practice will make perfect

iPhone supply shortages happen almost every year, but with the iPhone 5 they've been compounded by quality assurance concerns -- namely chips and scratches occurring at the factory before the devices are as much as opened by customers. A Foxconn/Hon Hai official, who declined to be named, told Lorraine Luk of the Wall Street Journal that it's hard to satisfy both aesthetic and practical needs:

The iPhone 5 is the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled. To make it light and thin, the design is very complicated. It takes time to learn how to make this new device. Practice makes perfect. Our productivity has been improving day by day.

This is nothing that anyone looking at working conditions in China and the complexity of the new iPhone assembly and finishing process couldn't reasonably deduce all on their lonesome (add your own cliche about good, fast, and cheap here).

As to rumors of a labour dispute compounded by the iPhone 5 production difficulties, the same executive waved the "stay clam, carry on" banner.

The Zhengzhou site, which was set up in 2011, is still pretty new to us. We are still learning how to manage the work force there.

Apple pushes the bleeding edge when it comes to manufacturing, inventing a lot of their own processes along the way. Quality will no doubt improve over time, whether or not it eases worker strife.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

SGP GLAS.t premium tempered glass screen protector for iPhone 5 review

Next up →

MacBreak Weekly 321: Hollow it out Like a Tauntaun

Reader comments

Foxconn says the iPhone 5 is the most difficult device they've ever assembled, hopes practice will make perfect


It's very sad that most of us who have purchased the phone and thinking that it's made as good as it can be...probably not. Like everything else in life you have to practice to achieve greatness in something. I understand that they are getting better at making the phone, but shouldn't it have happened already!? If you think your product is not as good as it should be, don't put it out there. However, I still do like the iPhone 5 very much!

All that work for a smartphone with a basic OS. I feel bad for those workers not getting paid enough for all their hard work. Cheap Labor is how Apple is making this "ginormous" amount profit and that's a fact.

@Dumbinho, it doesn't matter if "Apple is not the only company that manufactures in China", that doesn't make it right.

Like saying "but officer all the other drivers ran the red light or are driving 15 mph faster than the posted speed limit" Regardless of others you and others (companies included) are responsible for their own actions and can't just point the finger at others to justify their actions.

Stepping down from my soapbox now.

*Don’t get me wrong I own Apple products, but I understand what really goes into the device that is in my hand.

You could always not buy Apple products if you feel this strongly and are willing to judge a company? Just some random post here on "your soapbox" won't change anything. Put your money where your mouth is. Throw away your Apple stuff and buy some stuff not made in China. Good luck with that! LOL

What I was trying to say is that everyone complains about apple. Is all over the news. Well. Apple is not the only company that makes stuff there. Everyone does. That includes Samsung. And every electronics company. If they don't like it. Don't buy it. Stop complaining. Especially people in America. They complain about it. But if you ask them to manufacture the iPhones here. They won't. Even if you pay them the legal minimum wage here in the US. (Which is a lot more then their wage in china) is not about cheap labor. Americans just don't wanna do those labors even if they are paid well.

What does the OS have to do with the physical design of the phone? iOS has been around since the original iPhone and they weren't as complicated to manufacture as these newer devices.

come on I can't believe that last comment. Ask some of the millions and millions of americans out of work and I bet there are plenty that would jump at the job. Put me in line

So you're saying you will build thousands of iPhones parts everyday for 10+ hours for less than $7??? So let's say if you work on the line that puts the home button in. And that is all you do for 10+ hours 7 days a week for less than $7. Easier said than done my friend. Their OVERTIME rate is less than $3....

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure they said a similar thing back when the iPhone 4 was first released. For me this comes as no surprise.

Perhaps its the hardiest because the slave labor is finally getting to the workers. I mean, I know the suicide nets, the psychologists, and the forced abortion hasn't pushed the workers out of Foxconn yet, but maybe the accumulation of oppression is finally affecting their assembly skills.