Foxconn admits iPhone 5 shortages because device is ‘tough to build’

The iPhone 5 is tough to build. When have we heard that before?

The Wall Street Journal spoke with an unnamed Hon Hai executive on Wednesday about the iPhone 5’s supply issues, and he reportedly blamed the issues on the iPhone 5’s complex design, assembly, and QC process.

Hon Hai is the parent company of Foxconn, Apple‘s largest manufacturing partner.

The executive said, “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.”

The iPhone 5 is being assembled at Foxconn plants in Zhengzhou and Guan Lan, China. Although Foxconn earlier denied any labor unrest at the Zhengzhou plant, the executive did mention the recent conflict between assembly line workers and quality inspectors in Zhengzhou last month.

That conflict was said to be due to new quality control procedures put in place to alleviate scratch problems with the iPhone 5’s aluminum casing. He added, “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.”

About The Author