WSJ: Foxconn ramping up iPhone 5s production

foxconn production

Yesterday we reported that online iPhone 5s availability had improved, with shipping estimates lowered to 3-5 days. Now, this newfound inventory could be the result of greater production yields, lower demand, or both.

But according to The Wall Street Journal, it’s likely the former. The news outlet is reporting this morning that Foxconn has boosted production capacity for the iPhone 5s, at the expense of the 5c, at the request of Apple…

The Journal’s Lorraine Luk has the scoop:

“The waiting time for iPhone 5Ss has shortened significantly as major assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.2317.TW -0.13% has been running its factories around the clock, adding more workers to its production lines. […]

Hon Hai, also known by its trade name Foxconn, has boosted production capacity for the iPhone 5S at the expense of the cheaper iPhone 5C as requested by Apple, people familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal last month.”

Apparently, Foxconn has been operating 100 production lines around the clock at full capacity, in Zhengzhou, China. The company has about 300,000 workers at the plant dedicated to just making the iPhone 5s and key parts.

“To get a glimpse of just how complicated it is to manufacture the iPhone 5S, Hon Hai executives said the company has about 600 workers on each iPhone 5S production line to handle assembly work.

“We have been churning out about 500,000 iPhone 5Ss everyday, the highest daily output ever,” said the executive who declined to be named.”

As for the iPhone 5c, Luk says that she has been told that Foxconn only runs about 500 workers per production line as the handset’s assembly procedure is much less complicated than the iPhone 5s, and the demand for it is far less.

It’ll be interesting, though, to see where Apple is at when the dust settles in January. It has 2 new iPhones for the first time ever, in more markets, going into the holiday season. Expect its first quarter of 2014 to look fairly impressive.