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Foxconn Thinks the iPhone 5 Is a Pain 312

Posted by samzenpus
from the hard-work dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "China's largest electronics manufacturer, the already-loathed Foxconn, is now taking the fall for the iPhone 5 shortage that's annoyed consumers and worried investors in recent weeks. What's the holdup? They don't have enough parts? They're training new line workers? They're too busy trying to regain control of their factories after employees started rioting? Nah. According to the company, the iPhone 5 is just a huge pain to put together. That bit about the riots is a little bit true, too, though."
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Foxconn Thinks the iPhone 5 Is a Pain

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  • Ug (Score:5, Informative)

    by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @07:51PM (#41687891)
    The quote from the unnamed Foxconn source is interesting, if true. (Good luck swapping the hard drive (flash) or battery like I have with my 80GB iPod!)

    But this story has so much "attitude" it's unpleasant to get through.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jhoegl (638955)
      I agree, unconfirmed sources should be taken seriously and without question.
      *Disclaimer - I hate Apple and all Apple related products. I disagree with their business philosophy of a walled garden, and think that only religious zealots should buy them.
      • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @04:03AM (#41690345) Journal

        Samzenpus, can you please do a better job on the submission approval process?

        " China's largest electronics manufacturer, the already-loathed Foxconn ..."

        First of all, Foxconn is from Taiwan, not China.
         
        Second, no matter how much the submitter pigrabbitbear loaths Foxconn, the ill-feeling pigrabbitbear has towards Foxconn is NOT related to the story of TFA, and Samzenpus, the mod who approved the submit, should have known better than allowed "the already-loathed Foxconn" to pass through the approval process.
         
        Slashdot is faltering, and it's not the users who has brought it down.
         
        It's the moderators, such as Samzenpus, who have failed to carry out their job duty, in a professional manner.
         
         
         
         

         
         
         
         
         

         
         

        • Slashdot is faltering, and it's not the users who has brought it down.

          It's the moderators, such as Samzenpus, who have failed to carry out their job duty, in a professional manner.

          What else is new? That's been a problem around here for as long as I can remember. It's a shame the editors of Slashdot are so sloppy and unprofessional, and it's the reason I don't pay for a subscription.

        • by AliasBackslash (2719011) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @09:32AM (#41691809)

          " China's largest electronics manufacturer, the already-loathed Foxconn ..."

          This is a quote from TFA not something the submitter wrote his/herself.

    • Re:Ug (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dahamma (304068) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @09:56PM (#41688771)

      I have no interest in defending Foxconn or Apple for the conditions in their factories, but yes, this article (and others on that site) is so flawed and snarky it's barely worth crediting.

      My favorite gems:

      The company had been running an internship program that put 14- to 16-year-old children on the factory floor

      And the link they reference in that quote (to anther article on their OWN site) says it was vocational interns (16+) and college students (18+). So more accurate would be "16 to 22". You'd think they could quote their own articles correctly.

      Also from that article referenced: The suicide rate at Foxconn is still lower than that of the general population in China, but striking for its concentration among a group of workers at a single company.

      Wha?? Someone failed basic statistics. If the rate is lower over a population (where "rate" = incidents/population), how is the concentration (eh, also incidents/population) striking? In fact, it's only striking because of the *anecdotes* sensationalized by stories like this...

      Basic human rights and working conditions in China are a big problem, but it doesn't help the cause to make up facts and statistics that don't exist...

      • Re:Ug (Score:5, Insightful)

        by garaged (579941) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @10:26PM (#41688957) Homepage

        Contextualizing, it is likely that work environment should discourage suicide, maybe the rate is alarming compared against similar factories

      • Re:Ug (Score:5, Informative)

        by JakartaDean (834076) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:05PM (#41689155) Journal

        The company had been running an internship program that put 14- to 16-year-old children on the factory floor

        And the link they reference in that quote (to anther article on their OWN site) says it was vocational interns (16+) and college students (18+). So more accurate would be "16 to 22".

        I don't want to defend the authors, but Foxconn did recently admit that some of it vocational interns were 14 - 16 years old. It was on the BBC [bbc.co.uk], among others.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wisty (1335733)

          Is that Chinese years or Western ones? Because a Chinese who says they are 14 is actually 13 (they start counting at 1, like Fortran).

        • by 19061969 (939279)

          Much like I did in 1980s UK. I was sent on a work experience programme when I was 14 over summer and quite enjoyed my experience and didn't feel exploited even when looking back after several decades of work. It was about as much real work as my daughter playing with a toy kitchen is real cooking.

          I'm not saying that Foxconn's younger interns are not working the typical 30-hour / day, 8 days/week-type deathmarch that articles like this seem to propound, but I'm not saying it's not either. This article needs

      • by Kreigaffe (765218)

        Actually the statistics are fine, there. Let's say the average rate over China's population is 5%. At a Foxconn factory, let's say that overall their employees have a 3% suicide rate -- except if you focus specifically on their production line workers, who have a 10% suicide rate, with the overall rate for the factory dropping because the rate among execs, secretaries and janitors is only 1%.

        That would be striking, to have a group with similar economic conditions and the same work conditions and similar l

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:02PM (#41687989)
    Why not build them here? Yes they will cost slightly more but obviously given the rabid demand they haven't crossed the price point that drives away customers. The bigger issue is in spite dividends and buy backs and such Apple still has over 100 billion in their mattress and they don't have a clue what to do with it! Even with the increased production costs it's doubtful it would dent the 100 billion in the bank while it would mean hiring 500,000 new people that might turn into iPhone customers! It worked for Henry Ford. Being a good citizen could result in a windfall instead of reduced profits. Apple can't go broke at this point so why not help their mother country out for once? They get the added benefit of getting rid of two weeks in shipment delays due to having to ship them from China. They could also get them to Europe quicker so it's a win/win!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Why not build them here?

      Because no one would do the job for $40 or less per hour with full benefits except for migrant/immigrant workers. Then those that didn't want the job would bitch how migrant/immigrant are taking their job. Mean while they don't actually want those jobs.

      • by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:26PM (#41688155)

        Bullshit.

        They could probably do it for around 20/hr in oklahoma. Many assembly work jobs go for that rate. The issue is unions. Since apple would be establishing a new manufacturing plant, and would come union free to start, they just have to keep it that way. Pay people on time, don't subject them to cancer causing chemicals, and give them proper work hours, and you are basically golden.

        40$/hr doing assembly work?

        I do fucking CAD/CAM and get paid way less than that!

        • Bullshit.

          They could probably do it for around 20/hr in oklahoma. Many assembly work jobs go for that rate. The issue is unions. Since apple would be establishing a new manufacturing plant, and would come union free to start, they just have to keep it that way. Pay people on time, don't subject them to cancer causing chemicals, and give them proper work hours, and you are basically golden.

          40$/hr doing assembly work?

          I do fucking CAD/CAM and get paid way less than that!

          Riiight that why all the assembly jobs are still in the US.

          • by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:49PM (#41688329) Homepage Journal

            OK, even if you accept the wages arguement, the Chinese will accept pay far below US minimum wage (around $8/hour in most states, last time I looked, although that was a while ago.)

            But to be honest, the major reason is that companies like Foxconn are extremely good at getting an assembly line for a new product set up in a very short space of time. This was the reason the Raspberry Pi, for example, was outsourced to a non-Western country - Western manufacturers could match the price, but would take months to set up their production lines. Non-Western manufacturers could get everything set up in weeks.

            • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:09AM (#41689763)

              health care being tied to jobs hurts the USA for jobs and getting rid of that can give us more jobs hear.

            • by root_42 (103434) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @02:44AM (#41690125) Homepage

              But to be honest, the major reason is that companies like Foxconn are extremely good at getting an assembly line for a new product set up in a very short space of time. This was the reason the Raspberry Pi, for example, was outsourced to a non-Western country - Western manufacturers could match the price, but would take months to set up their production lines. Non-Western manufacturers could get everything set up in weeks.

              And yet, after some months, the Raspberry Pi foundation moved manufacturing to the UK -- for the same retail price! (http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/1925). So why shouldn't Apple be able to do the same thing? Granted, the RP Foundation isn't out to make a huge profit, but still, Apple should be able to source its components and products a little bit more ethically.

          • by wierd_w (1375923)

            Not all assebly work is done overseas.

            A noteworthy example is in aerospace. My employer hires at around 10/hr for unskilled assembly work.

            The problem is that china can do your assembly work for 2/hr or cheaper. It isn't that nobody wants to do the work. Corporations see dollarsigns, and are addicted to essentially slave labor wages.

          • All these kids today don't remember the paeans to the soul-killing, life-destroying assembly line jobs that were everywhere in the 70's and 80's. How quickly our country forgets.

          • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:13AM (#41689569) Homepage Journal

            Riiight that why all the assembly jobs are still in the US.

            It's not really the money. China has something like a $70 price advantage on a US-built iPhone. Apple people would pay it.

            What you get in China, is that the factory that makes those mini screws you need for the iPhone is just down the road. This doesn't happen in Oklahoma - the industries have all left. The logistics of doing it in the US are nearly impossible.

            Second, if you wanted to build that screw factory, in China, you just grease the right palms and build a screw factory, maybe with State financial support. In the US you begin a 7-year permitting process.

            In the city where my office is Red Lobster wanted to put a restaurant. One of their canned designs they've done a hundred of. After two years in the city planner's office, they were at a meeting and the planner decided that she didn't like the propane tank in the back of the proposed restaurant, because, she said, somebody could pull off on the Interstate and shoot it with a high powered rifle, and cause an explosion that would kill everybody in the restaurant. This has never happened, even in a Michael Bay movie, and there are a dozen other restaurants in the plaza with the same setup, but she decided that Red Lobster should bury an underground tank (in a flood plane) big enough for all the restaurants to share, and that would make the world a happier place. They told the planner to go to hell, walked out of the meeting, and never came back to town.

            21st Century America - inexplicably uncompetitive.

            • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:39AM (#41689877)

              Something tells me that lady may have had an interest in one of those other restaurants, maybe one that needed a propane tank.

              I refuse to believe that anybody is actually that goddamned stupid. The propane tank wouldn't explode. PHYSICS DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT.

              Truth told she probably is that stupid... but that would make me too sad, so I'm sticking to her being a corrupt fucking shill looking to get a payout from someone else for getting red lobster to build a propane tank for them. :(

            • by spauldo (118058)

              What you get in China, is that the factory that makes those mini screws you need for the iPhone is just down the road. This doesn't happen in Oklahoma - the industries have all left. The logistics of doing it in the US are nearly impossible.

              Not so. Parts like screws, plastic, wiring, etc. can all be had in Oklahoma and anywhere else in the U.S., produced in America by Americans. I pick up and deliver parts like these from factories all the time. These types of materials have such low margins that there's no point in importing them from overseas - the cost difference is negligible, and you can ship the parts without having to deal with customs, lost containers, or all the crap that goes down at the docks.

              Imagine how many of those tiny screws

        • by AvitarX (172628)

          Apple has said It's not the money, It's the oppressive hours, and people sleeping on campus where they can get awoken from slumber, drink a cup of coffee and start a 12 hour shift that makes China so good for manufacturing.

          good luck getting work like that in the western world (we are privledged to have better conditions here).

          • Apple has said It's not the money, It's the oppressive hours, and people sleeping on campus where they can get awoken from slumber, drink a cup of coffee and start a 12 hour shift that makes China so good for manufacturing.

            good luck getting work like that in the western world (we are privledged to have better conditions here).

            They could probably co opt some graduate students at any major university campus. Would be a step up in many respects.

        • I do fucking CAD/CAM and get paid way less than that!

          Guys who load boxes onto ships get $120/hr, 8hrs per day, plus overtime differential and benefits.

          • All 150 of them (recent article in the NYT that I'm too lazy to lookup). The vast majority of those jobs have gone in part because the longshoremen milked it for all it's worth and the port just automated the hell out of everything and tossed most of the workers out on the street. The few that are left have total cush jobs.

            Interesting outcome...

    • by MikeKD (549924) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:25PM (#41688147) Homepage

      Why not build them here?

      Because the rest of the supply chain [metafilter.com] (LCDs, RAM, etc) is still in East Asia?

    • by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:26PM (#41688151)

      Why not build them here? Yes they will cost slightly more but obviously given the rabid demand they haven't crossed the price point that drives away customers. The bigger issue is in spite dividends and buy backs and such Apple still has over 100 billion in their mattress and they don't have a clue what to do with it! Even with the increased production costs it's doubtful it would dent the 100 billion in the bank while it would mean hiring 500,000 new people that might turn into iPhone customers! It worked for Henry Ford. Being a good citizen could result in a windfall instead of reduced profits. Apple can't go broke at this point so why not help their mother country out for once? They get the added benefit of getting rid of two weeks in shipment delays due to having to ship them from China. They could also get them to Europe quicker so it's a win/win!

      A Chinese Foxconn worker makes around $400/month [extremetech.com], $4800 year. A worker in the USA would cost about 10 times as much once benefits are included.

      If it takes 500,000 chinese workers to make the phone, it would probably take 600,000 - 750,000 USA workers because USA workers aren't going to put in the same amount of overtime. But it if takes 500,000....500,000 times $50,000/year is $25B/year in labor costs alone and ignores the billions it would cost to build the factories.

      • by AdamWill (604569)

        "If it takes 500,000 chinese workers to make the phone"

        It doesn't. Foxconn makes all sorts of other stuff too. They don't have half a million people doing nothing but crank out iPhones.

      • Caterpillar has 2 pay scales. The new one starts ppl at 11/hr with zero benefits. IOW, 22K/year. Then you add in the fact that the yuan is manipulated to be about 1/3 of where it is at, then you realize that CHinese workers are making pretty damn close to what American workers currently make. The only REAL advantage that China has right now, is there manipulation of their money, the dumping, the subsidies, and the trade barriers to others coming in to their markets.
      • It doesn't take anywhere near 500,00 workers to build those phones.
      • by tibit (1762298)

        Ah, but you see, in first world you automate a lot of such production because it's cheaper. The setup is costlier, but repeatability goes up vs. unpredictableness of tired labor force, and longer term you can actually make it cheaper than in asia. Once your setup is done, adding robot cells to the line only costs you amortization -- capital equipment can be leased and scaled with demand. Sure Foxconn can set up stuff in a couple of weeks because they have next to no programmable machinery outside of various

        • by hawguy (1600213)

          Ah, but you see, in first world you automate a lot of such production because it's cheaper. The setup is costlier, but repeatability goes up vs. unpredictableness of tired labor force, and longer term you can actually make it cheaper than in asia. Once your setup is done, adding robot cells to the line only costs you amortization -- capital equipment can be leased and scaled with demand. Sure Foxconn can set up stuff in a couple of weeks because they have next to no programmable machinery outside of various test cells, it's mostly all manual labor with some custom but simple tools. In the U.S., if you get a bunch of dedicated manufacturing people, they could set up automation about just as quick, given proper resources.

          Sure, if they have months of leadtime, they can automate nearly anything. But they need that leadtime - no last minute changes, like swapping out a glass screen for a plastic screen. When Apple was looking for a factory to cut the glass, the Chinese built the (government subsidized) glass cutting factory before they even had a signed deal from Apple, and they were able to give 24x7 access to engineers because the engineers lived on-site in the company dormitory. Can any American factory offer that kind of

    • Apple used to build computers in America. You might remember those days, when everyone complained about how expensive Apple hardware was. People aren't willing to pay more for Made in America products, we've seen that as true for decades.

      That's not entirely true, one important demographic does buy Made in America: politicians.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:03PM (#41688007)

    Now available in stores. We took the same great design as the IPHONE 5 but made it BETTER. It's better because you do it yourself! Now you can feel an even closer relationship with your Iphone because yes that is your blood sweat and tears that went into making it come alive.. Literally its razor fucking sharp kids.
    *Kids under the age of 15 need adult supervision "what you pay them is up to you"

    • I still treasure the ancient memory of opening up a Sony Walkman. Some machines aren't meant to be touched by human hands.

      • by Animats (122034)

        I still treasure the ancient memory of opening up a Sony Walkman. Some machines aren't meant to be touched by human hands.

        The Walkman was assembled by a rather simple robotic assembly cell. It was designed for vertical assembly - all the parts were inserted with a straight-down motion. That's not new; cheap clocks and watches were made that way a century ago. The back is made with pins and recesses so that everything aligns with the back. Once all the parts are in, the top is put on, locking everything into place.

        Some phones are made that way. Nokia and Motorola "brick" phones went together that way. Flip phones were a li

        • by tibit (1762298)

          With reengineering this could be a beautiful thing to put together entirely hands-off. As it is, the design is only amenable to manual assembly. As you imply, it'd require different approaches to design of various parts to get good yields with automated assembly. I'd love it if a couple iPhones down the road there was a device where nobody touches anything once it is loaded up into assembly cells -- all the way to final boxing.

  • Pain? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:07PM (#41688033)

    Foxconn may say the iphone5 is a pain, but I think the workers getting paid peanuts for 80 hours shifts might have a different idea of what 'pain' means. Besides, how much quality assembly is really possible when your workforce is bleary-eyed and exhausted? I bet there's a lot of QA rejects and extra controls required to keep quality from plummeting.

  • ...that the four words,

    "...Apple's attention to detail..."

    are going to be part of the discourse as slashdotters exchange ideas on Apple, despite whatever happened to the phrase when one considers the maps fiacso and the chipping issues [apple.com] that have been part of the latest iphone story.

    And it won't be long, trust me on that...just saying.

  • iFixit (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:09PM (#41688051) Homepage Journal

    That's ironic, because iFixit finally gave the iPhone 5 a much better score than all previous generations as far as repair goes. In the factory the boards are populated by machine, leaving the final assembly of the various parts by hand, which is basically the same process you have when manually disassembling / reassembling the device. Just doesn't jive with what iFixit had to say [ifixit.com]. Sounds like they are trying to shift blame to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Thanks for that! I found two amusing bits of information in there:
      -The screen replacement is far superior in the iPhone 5 than the Galaxy S3 (I looked at their piece on the S3 afterward).
      -I was most amused at finding out the iPhone 5 battery and camera are made by Sony... hopefully this silences some of those people who feel the need to post about having not bought a Sony product since **insert ancient history here**.

    • Re:iFixit (Score:4, Funny)

      by lewiscr (3314) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @09:10PM (#41688487) Homepage

      Sounds like they are trying to shift blame to me.

      What did YOU DO?

    • Re:iFixit (Score:4, Informative)

      by robbak (775424) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @04:16AM (#41690395) Homepage

      iFixit's rating was because the screen came off easily after removing a couple of screws, and that provided easy access to the battery. After that, the rest of the phone was tightly packed, and fiddly to get apart, and they did say that re-aligning it to factory specs would be hard to impossible.

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:18PM (#41688103)

    Any Slashdotters know anything about manufacturing engineering, and would like to fill us in on why Apple can construct such a sophisticated thing as an iPhone 5, that still needs to be assembled largely by hand?

    Surely a mass-marketed consumer device like that, they'd design for manufacturability, and/or design the tools required to assemble it efficiently?

    Maybe, with (Chinese) labour costs being such an insignificant part of the sticker price, it's simply not worth the trouble?

    • Any Slashdotters know anything about manufacturing engineering, and would like to fill us in on why Apple can construct such a sophisticated thing as an iPhone 5, that still needs to be assembled largely by hand?

      Surely a mass-marketed consumer device like that, they'd design for manufacturability, and/or design the tools required to assemble it efficiently?

      Maybe, with (Chinese) labour costs being such an insignificant part of the sticker price, it's simply not worth the trouble?

      The Chinese will just release a slightly redesigned pirate copy that'll be (almost) as good as the real thing and so easy to mass produce that it'll swamp the market even more than pirate copys usually do.

    • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:36PM (#41688223)

      They can't build robots capable of the same wide variety of fine, rapid movements as people. Assembling the device robotically would require a large number of purpose build machines to carry out each step. That would add years to the amount of time it takes to bring a product to market, which is unacceptable in consumer electronics.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        By properly engineering the design process, those purpose build machines would be co-designed with other parts, it's a matter of what you're familiar with. Apple has been designing on purpose for manual assembly. It'd be, internally, quite a different product if it was meant for automated assembly. iPhone could be put together using rather simple machinery. All you need is a computer-assisted design-for-manufacturing process where when a part design is finalized, you also have finalized end effectors, conve

        • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @02:06AM (#41689991) Homepage

          You probably could do something like that - for a price. And the price would be a big one. Every time you wanted to change something you'd have to retool the machines. And things do change - you make a couple thousand prototypes, find that one screw is in the wrong place and the screen cracks all of the time, you go back and retool the case or whatever, show the slaves how to screw the part in and off you go.

          In your world, you would have to retool both the part and the machine. Easy, you say, just rig the machines to you can change them. Apparently not so easy - otherwise it would be done that way.

          Do you seriously think the designers of these devices haven't scrutinized these decisions carefully? "The iPhone could be put together using simple machinery." Really? Then why is every cell phone, every little camera, every big DLSR and in fact, every bit of consumer electronics made this way?

          It's just not easy to build a machine as dexterous as a human.

    • by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:43PM (#41688279)
      Because robots have more human rights in China.
    • I'm in China manufacturing, and it baffles me that Apple can get excellent-quality, highly sophisticated goods like the iPhone out and on schedule. It just blows my mind.

      Nineteen components, and they still get it wrong.

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        I work for a (US) company that makes electronic products, the bulk of it is SMT, and requires very little more than humans putting materials in, and then taking it out on the other end. Quality and consistency are extremely high and errors are low. Much like the production of a phone, most workers are just plugging crap in and snapping parts together.

        the other part of that are products that are less than 19 components, but requires too much manual placement, and wow, you might as well take half of your mate

      • by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @03:33AM (#41690275) Journal

        Nineteen components, and they still get it wrong.

        That's nothing. I bought a bunch of microphones from a Chinese manufacturer a couple of years ago. The power supply circuit boards were machine-built, AFAIK, so they were consistent. All that they had to do by hand was screw a single circuit board down with... maybe four screws, screw the case together with... I think two screws, and shove on a knob or two on the front. They might have had to snap a power jack into the back or something. We're talking dead simple here.

        I'll let you guess what percentage of them had at least one screw rolling around in the box. Hint: it was not a single-digit percentage. Most companies can't cope with that sort of return rate.

        If you want quality out of China, you'll only get it if you have enough volume that they will care if they lose your business. And you will have to do random inspections of their factories, which means having employees on the ground in China. Fail to meet either of those requirements and, assuming what I've seen is typical, it would probably be cheaper for them to ship you the parts and for you to pay to have them assembled in the U.S. once you factor in the astounding return rate. Assuming that you do proper QA in the U.S., you'll be disassembling and reassembling a quarter of them anyway, so you might as well eliminate the redundant assembly step and just assemble it over here. Cheaper import duties, that way, too.

    • by jrumney (197329) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:59PM (#41688405) Homepage
      It's perfectly normal for final assembly to be done by hand. We're not talking soldering here, but inserting flat cables into sockets, clipping PCBs into place inside the aluminium chassis, and closing everything up. It would take quite specialized machinery to automate this, and the lifespan of the average iPhone model is just not long enough to justify that.
      • by tibit (1762298)

        The machinery can be reusable across models, there'd be specialized conveyor and end effector tooling. A lot of that can be done quickly using 3D printers. Times are changing.

        • by Osgeld (1900440) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:17AM (#41689587)

          "A lot of that can be done quickly using 3D printers"

          ugh, ok when your producing thousands to millions of units per day, you cant take the line down every 20 min cause your rep-rap made doohicky crapped out. even good 3D printers cant make parts that are going to hold up in a production line very long.

          so now your getting shit milled and waterjet to make special tools for a product that changes every year just to inset a screw that cost a multiplier more than a persons yearly income, even if you were paying American rates.

    • by Eskarel (565631)

      From what I understand it's actually fairly simple.

      At the present time, robots which are capable of safely manipulating the screens are more expensive than the humans that do it now. A robot could of course assemble the rest of it, but when you need a human to go and put the screen in on every unit anyway, you may as well have them put the rest of it together too.

    • by tibit (1762298)

      It doesn't need to be assembled largely by hand. It's purposely designed to be assembled by hand, since that's what you do when you have Chinese labor available in a Foxconn factory. Much less set up cost than automation, and initially faster adaptability to demand as well. If you wanted an automated assembly line, then it'd make just as much sense to make it in the U.S. or Europe, and it'd be designed for such an automated assembly process.

    • by AaronW (33736)

      In China human labor is cheap which is why they use it. In the U.S. it's expensive so we automate it. It takes longer to retool equipment to automate it but you do tend to get higher quality. For those who think robots don't have the finesse of human hands, all of those chips on the boards are placed by robots. It's very difficult to reliably do that by hand given how small the tolerances are. Today's robots can do most of what human workers do and in fact do it faster and better. The problem is that it tak

  • Thin is In (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:49PM (#41688331) Homepage Journal

    TFA: The company had been running an internship program that put 14- to 16-year-old children on the factory floor, and if you've ever built a Lego spaceship with a teenager, you'll know that those nimble little fingers are great at dealing with the small parts.

    Because the iPhone 6 will be as thin as a credit card, Apple will hire fetuses.

  • It is pure magic! The thing doesn't obey the rules of physics.
    Geez, what did they expect?

  • by firesyde424 (1127527) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:47PM (#41689433)

    The folks who stood in line for hours(or days in some cases), or ordered one online and still haven't seen it yet, got screwed. Not because of manufacturing delays, but because they bought a phone that was already out of date before it was even released. HTC and Samsung had better phones out eight and six months ago, respectively. I bought the one x. It has a better LCD, better resolution, better talk time, same resolution camera, NFC, WiFi direct, and a whole list of other things the "cutting edge" iPhone 5 doesn't have. And here's the punchline..... I paid $300 less for my One X than you did for the 32 gb iPhone 5.

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.

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