Despite huge investment it’s made in production lines, workers, sophisticated machinery and tooling equipment, Foxconn, the world’s largest contract fabricator, is having issues keeping up with massive iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus demand, The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog reported Wednesday.
“For iPhone 6 Plus, we are still ramping up the production line,” sources tell WSJ. ”Another reason for the limited supply is the shortage of 5.5-inch displays”.
Another person at a display component supplier told the paper that Foxconn is scrapping almost half of the 5.5-inch panels due to quality control issues. The output rate of the 4.7-inch display is reportedly better at 85 percent.
Manufacturing woes stem from the in-cell display technology which allows for a thinner and lighter screen assembly by integrating touch sensors into the liquid crystal display.
Citing unnamed sources, the financial newspaper said that Foxconn assembles the larger 5.5-inch device exclusively at its factory in Zhengzhou. The 4.7-inch variant is being predominantly assembled by Foxconn, the report notes.
Back in July, Reuters said both Foxconn and Pegatron would build the new iPhones.
So, how big is the production of the iPhone 6?
It’s massive: the article states that Foxconn’s factory in Zhengzhou employs more than a whopping 200,000 workers who assemble the handsets and build key components such as metal casings.
In other words, building the iconic smartphone requires about one-fifth of the more than one million workers that Foxconn employs in China. In the past year or so, rumors circulated that Foxconn was deploying thousands of sophisticated robots to help human workers assemble iPhones.
Foxconn operates about a hundred iPhone production lines in Zhengzhou.
The source familiar with the matter says the manufacturer has been producing about 140,000 iPhone 6 Plus and 400,000 iPhone 6 models every day, its highest daily output ever.
Despite high volume, the handset remains in short supply as pre-orders have sold out within mere minutes in many markets around the world.
Apple on Monday said it’s sold four million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus pre-orders within first 24 hours.
At post time, the company’s web store in the United States estimated delivery times for new iPhone 6 Plus orders at 3-4 weeks, meaning people who order theirs now won’t see it shipped before October.
The 4.7-incher ships within seven to ten business days.
Note that some (but not all) walk-up customers stand a chance to put their hands on the sought-after handset as Apple’s stores are well-stocked ahead of major launches.