Reuters: iPhone 6 backlight woes affect production plans, could limit launch availability

By , Aug 22, 2014

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We heard before that Apple faced several issues related to manufacture of the upcoming iPhone 6.

This is expected for any major Apple product with a brand new design demanding new production equipment and requiring contract manufacturers to develop custom ways to build and assemble products.

According to Reuters Friday, Apple’s plan to make every iPhone 6 component as thin as possible could backfire because a last-minute design change has sent suppliers “scrambling” to get enough screens ready ahead of the expected September 9 launch.

At the heart of productions woes is Apple’s unabated desire to develop a thinner display backlighting system for a lighter and thinner appearance.

As suppliers were struggling to meet tough specifications, the story goes, Apple was forced to redesign the handset’s backlighting which in turn disrupted panel production.

A report from LEDinside previously alleged that Apple wanted to use thinner LED backlights and shifted to a film-based touch sensor across both new iPhones and iPads, too.

Reiji Murai, reporting for Reuters:

Two supply chain sources said display panel production suffered a setback after the backlight that helps illuminate the screen had to be revised, putting screen assembly on hold for part of June and July.

The new backlight reportedly was not bright enough, prompting the need to redesign the module to fit in the extra layer, “costing precious time and temporarily idling some screen assembly operations”, the source said.

Blame it on Apple’s pursue of thinness:

One said Apple, aiming for the thinnest phone possible, initially wanted to cut back to a single layer of backlight film, instead of the standard two layers, for the 4.7-inch screen, which went into mass production ahead of the 5.5-inch version.

“Output is now back on track and suppliers are working flat-out to make up for lost time,” wrote Reuters.

It’s not the first time that Apple’s perfectionism has disrupted production and contributed to shortages at launch.

One atypical example: the upcoming Campus 2 project — aka iSpaceship — has been delayed a bit after it had gone $2 billion over budget because Apple wanted the ceilings to be polished concrete.

The new specs now require contractors to cast the ceilings in molds on the floor and lift them into place rather than being cast in place.

And another example, this one rather typical: the white iPhone 4 was ten months late over the light leakage issues that had affected the quality of photographs taken with the rear camera.

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Infographic by NowhereElse.fr

Come September 9, Apple should announce two new iPhone models, one with a 4.7-inch screen and the other sporting a phablet-class display measuring 5.5 inches diagonally.

The bigger device is said to hit store shelves weeks, if not months, after the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 hits store shelves in late-September. Apparently, Apple’s suppliers need more time to solve alleged production woes in regard to the 5.5-inch devices’s ultra-thin batteries, metal casing, a large panel and what not.

Both phones should feautre a speedy A8 chip clocked at 2GHz per core, or more, an improved camera system, a thinner appearance with a rounded design, new sensors and more.

A bunch of details have leaked out this morning based on alleged Foxconn schematics, including the device’s size, weight, battery, camera design and more.

[Reuters]

Rendering top of post by 3D artist Martin Hajek.

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  • http://www.eazycomputers.com/ PhoneTechJay

    Not even surprised by this. Every year it seems that there is another delay. Being an Analyst I can agree with the limited quantity being available. Also Apple will announce the September 9th even on or after Tuesday, August 26th.

    • chris125

      Agree. Every other day there is a headline “analyst claims iPhone production delayed due to X component” it is the same every year, yet they always seem to make them out on time for launch.

  • DroidGuy360

    This is their marketing. Say theres gonna be a shortage at launch, and the iZombies will camp or for days to get an outdated 3 year old spec phone.

    • GT

      Yeah.. I know a lot of 3 years old Android phones that run 64 bit processor..

      • DroidGuy360

        Yeah cuz they’ve done so much with the 64 bit processors. What’s the point when its a slow dual core paired with a measly 1gb of ram.

      • Glenn DolFan Baptista

        Says they guy that’s on his 3rd droid this year due to software problems

      • DroidGuy360

        You obviously know nothing about Android.

      • Glenn DolFan Baptista

        I know they are garbage and have fans like you that love to troll with non related comments

      • DroidGuy360

        I like to troll because iSheep like you get so upset and cry about everything. A bunch of brainwashed morons.

      • Keith

        Everyone is brainwashed when buying phones.

      • Glenn DolFan Baptista

        More like you troll cause you have no life and your best friend is made of plastic lol “DROIDDDDDDDDDDD”

      • DroidGuy360

        Like there isn’t a current iphone made out of plastic. SSSSSIIIIRRRRRIIIIII

      • Louie.

        Don’t get your knickers in a twist girls lol. Seriously though grow up…..

      • norbi2010

        So what? You j.rk off to us getting mad? I can’t believe you actually get pleasure from this…

      • Keith

        …….

    • Dor Pinhas

      FANDROID
      FANDROID
      AND TROLL.

      • DroidGuy360

        Oh hey, you again. Sup bro?

      • Dor Pinhas

        Fandroid
        Go mess with your green droid like 5 years old

      • DroidGuy360

        What?

      • Dor Pinhas

        Fandroid.
        Fan
        Droid
        FANDROID!!!
        Do you know hodor? u know whats the only word he can say?
        youre like him! all u can say is: “I’m FANDROID” :)
        troll.

      • DroidGuy360

        What?

      • rockdude094

        I’m deeply sorry. Ppl like him give apple fans a bad name. I had a dream where isheeps and fan droids can love together in harmony.

        Is that too much to ask ?

    • Chindavon

      Or they can just release it anyway and let the consumers beta test it and release the fixed version a few months down the line. Oh wait, Samsung has a patent on that. Too bad for Apple I guess.

    • http://www.eazycomputers.com/ PhoneTechJay

      How is it their strategy. This isn’t from apples mouth. Not sure why anyone camps out for them though. And to be fair all phones use old specs somewhere in the device.

  • http://www.Ihaveasitebutwontsaywhatitis.com Tony

    I’m not buying it. It’s another rumor with no actual proof. All these rumors are back and forth, it’s either check out this so called leak part or hey there’s been a delay.. the 4.7 is coming out and the 5.5 is going to be later.. next day.. oh they will be released at the same time, everything is on track. Rumors are just that, rumors! There’s been zero proof of any rumors, even the leaked parts haven’t shown really anything that you could say would be concrete.

  • Kurt

    backlightgate lol