We've heard it before, but this time a Foxconn exec said it straight to the Wall Street Journal: the iPhone 5 is really hard to make, the "most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled."
Many words have been expended over the complexity of manufacturing the screen in the 5 but it seems as though its scratchiness is another production line problem.
"To make it light and thin, the design is very complicated,” said the anonymous exec to the WSJ. They were managing though:
It takes time to learn how to make this new device. Practice makes perfect. Our productivity has been improving day by day.
The iPhone's new coating material makes it prone to scratches, which means that Foxconn have instituted a new quality check procedure to prevent scraped handsets being sent out.
The riots did involve disputes between employees and quality assurance staff he said, though he stressed that the disturbances had not interrupted the production of the iPhone 5.
And all the scratching and complex thin screen manufacture had slowed down supply of the iPhone 5 said the Foxconn exec, backing up Apple's assertion that their "disappointing" sales of 5 million iPhones 5s in the first weekend were down to supply shortages.
The timing of this anonymous interview is interesting. An iPad mini is expected next week, and it's possible that the Mini will have similar screen and casing to the iPhone 5 - so it could be that this leak is timed to control expectations about sale figures for the new baby pad. In the meantime it's interesting to get a view into the factory floors. ®