iPhone 5 ships with scuffs, Apple tightens production standards

By on October 11, 2012, 8:30 AM

Amongst the several complaints lodged against the newly released iPhone 5, it is perhaps most difficult to ignore the continuous flow of claims that iPhones are shipping with scuffs, nicks, chips and scratches -- even before removing it from the box. It appears Apple's decision to revert back to an aluminum design has resulted in an easily blemished handset, but customers are likely to hear no apologies from Apple on the matter -- just a statement which asserts the scuffing is "normal". Or is it?

Bloomberg reports that Apple is taking quality-control to the next level by pushing Foxconn to tighten production standards, primarily due to those blemish concerns. Purportedly, those higher standards have also further slowed production, compounding Apple's recent supply issues stemming from display shortages and Foxconn management / worker troubles. One Foxconn factory actually had to shut down production for an entire day, according to Bloomberg's sources.

"Apple has a very high standard, where it aims to produce each model to be an exact replica where variance is measured in microns." Shaw Wu said, an analyst at Sterne, Agee & Leach Inc. 

This isn't the first time we've heard of exacting standards slowing down Chinese manufacturers. Microsoft's Surface, an upcoming tablet which touts an incredibly thin 9.3mm profile, has also been suffering manufactory issues due in part to micron-sized tolerances and difficulty working with aluminum.

The iPhone 5's anodized 6000 series aluminum (or so Apple calls it) is also the same metal used for Macbooks; however, there is no word if Macbook production has also been affected. Apple churns out far more iPhones and iPods than Macbooks though, so this is less likely to be a concern.




User Comments: 17

Got something to say? Post a comment
VitalyT VitalyT said:

I'll have iPhone 6 with a bullet-through feature any time, me and my redneck bros.

Apple - keep at it!

1 person liked this | ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

Seems like the iphone 5 has a new issue every day. So much for their high grade metallic design.

Guest said:

This aluminium is not anodized (on that picture), I worked in it, this is simple painted

Zoltan Head said:

This aluminium is not anodized (on that picture), I worked in it, this is simple painted

Perhaps it's anodized aluminium under the paint?

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

Anodising does not take well to sharp or small corners/edges, a High school science class learns this right out of the box.

Guest does have a case though, the image shown is not typical of anodising damage. Would have to see the actual surface to really know and I won't be going out of my way to get a look at a I phone any time soon.

Jim$ter said:

My iPhone5 is shiny...but does have the major WiFi problem. I'm surprised no news site is picking up on the Wifi Problems...No... not the, it's using cellular instead of wifi but, the wifi is super slow, stops working completely, or won't even connect. I'm so sick of my crappy WiFi on the phone I just turned it off for now. Seems like replacing the phones are hit and miss...But apparently Apple is aware of the problem. Over 100 pages on the issue at Apples forums [link] But hey...It's an iPhone5 right!

Denxnis Denxnis said:

I'll have iPhone 6 with a bullet-through feature any time, me and my redneck bros.

Apple - keep at it!

Anodising does not take well to sharp or small corners/edges, a High school science class learns this right out of the box.

Guest does have a case though, the image shown is not typical of anodising damage. Would have to see the actual surface to really know and I won't be going out of my way to get a look at a I phone any time soon.

This aluminium is not anodized (on that picture), I worked in it, this is simple painted

Perhaps it's anodized aluminium under the paint?

My iPhone5 is shiny...but does have the major WiFi problem. I'm surprised no news site is picking up on the Wifi Problems...No... not the, it's using cellular instead of wifi but, the wifi is super slow, stops working completely, or won't even connect. I'm so sick of my crappy WiFi on the phone I just turned it off for now. Seems like replacing the phones are hit and miss...But apparently Apple is aware of the problem. Over 100 pages on the issue at Apples forums [link] But hey...It's an iPhone5 right!

Seems like the iphone 5 has a new issue every day. So much for their high grade metallic design.

This aluminium is not anodized (on that picture), I worked in it, this is simple painted

Mine works great and has no scratches!

2 people like this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

Mine works great and has no scratches!

Well, this can be easily solved, you know I scratched my iPhone 4 with a door key, to make it look like iPhone 5 It was a worthy upgrade

Guest said:

"This aluminium is not anodized (on that picture), I worked in it, this is simple painted"

"Perhaps it's anodized aluminium under the paint? :) "

No.. no.. let me correct this.. this is not anodized aluminum, but aluminum unibody painted with the color of anodized aluminum :D

Guest said:

My girl said her iPhone 5 is easy to scratch like chipping.. and I know her, she always take the utmost care for all her gadget :)

Tygerstrike said:

Really?? All this fuss over........nothing. Every Apple product comes out with some form of flaw. Its the way Apple does it. And lets be realistic here. As a retail manager that sells cellphones I see this a lot. Ppl DO NOT PROTECT THIER DEVICES!!! I have to say that atleast in my store, well over 50% of the customers do not see a need nor do they want a case or screenguard for thier phones. They then scratch or break thier phone then wonder why thier carrier wont replace thier device. This wouldnt be a deal breaker for me. Most ppl cant go a month w/o scratching dropping or breaking thier phones. Just toss the phone into a good solid case. Problem solved.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Just like they don't use Gorilla glass... my work iphone 4 has multiple scratches on the front (none on rear..?) from being in a pocket with keys for a total of 5 mins.

ramonsterns said:

Every Apple product comes out with some form of flaw. Its the way Apple does it.

Apple does damaged merchandise from out of the box? Is that a feature?

Guest said:

Apple does damaged merchandise from out of the box? Is that a feature?

No, a feature would tend to be a positive attribute, one which the company producing the item considers to be a selling point. I think Tygerstrike was (quite well & eloquently) making the point that Apple produce can be quality-challenged, in the sense of an accidental flaw in the goods. Given this accidental nature of the imperfection, the probability of it being "a feature" is approaching zero.

Hope this helps. :)

Guest said:

"Apple does damaged merchandise from out of the box? Is that a feature?"

I think that's what we call bad quality control :)

1 person liked this | ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

No, a feature would tend to be a positive attribute, one which the company producing the item considers to be a selling point. I think Tygerstrike was (quite well & eloquently) making the point that Apple produce can be quality-challenged, in the sense of an accidental flaw in the goods. Given this accidental nature of the imperfection, the probability of it being "a feature" is approaching zero.

Hope this helps.

Someone should tell Apple this, because they mistakenly put their maps app down as a feature

Guest said:

@ReederOnTheRun

"Someone should tell Apple this, because they mistakenly put their maps app down as a feature"

I guess everyone knows it, even Tim Cook has made statement regarding of this, you can read the article about this on TS not long ago

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.