The iPhone 5 has quickly become Apple’s fastest-selling iPhone of all-time, meaning it’s incredibly difficult to get hold of — even more than three weeks after its launch. And the situation is about to get a lot worse, according to Bloomberg. Apple has had to increase quality-control at Foxconn to prevent damaged devices with nicks and scratches from leaving the factory. As a result, iPhone 5 production rates have dropped.
A significant number of customers who have purchased the iPhone 5 in recent weeks have found that their device was damaged before it was even removed from the box. The type of aluminum Apple uses for the device, which helps make it so thin and light, means it’s easy to damage, and iPhone 5s are being scraped before they’ve even left the factory.
To prevent these devices from making their way into customers’ hands, Senior Apple managers have reportedly told Foxconn executives to tighten production standards and increase quality-control. Unfortunately for those still awaiting the device, that means production rates have fallen.
According to the Bloomberg report, this is only exacerbating the supply problem Apple was already facing with the iPhone 5, which is estimated to have cost the Cupertino company around $60 million in market value since the device made its debut on September 14.
Apple sold 5 million iPhone 5s during its first three days of availability, but Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne, Agee & Leach, says that tally could have been higher had Apple been able to produce more devices.
The constraints are causing analysts to cut their iPhone 5 sales forecasts for the coming quarters. RBC Capital Markets have reduced their projected sales of 57 million units for the December quarter down to 49 million units.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, has insisted that it’s normal for aluminum devices to chip and scratch. However, it seems even Apple agrees that it’s unacceptable for devices to damaged before they’ve even been unpacked.