By Alexandra Burlacu | Nov 08, 2012 12:15 PM EST
Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn said on Wednesday, Nov. 7, that assembling the lighter, thinner iPhone 5 is "not easy," and it was facing difficulty in keeping up with demand.
The lucrative holiday shopping season is just around the corner, and demand for the new iPhone 5 will likely surge around that time. It appears that Foxconn, the Apple supplier charged with assembling the device, is already feeling the pressure.
"It's not easy to make the iPhones. We are falling short of meeting the huge demand," Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou told reporters after a business forum on Wednesday.
Gou's comments confirm a number of recent reports hinting to production delays for the latest generation of Apple's popular smartphone. Just last month, an official at the Taiwanese manufacturer told the Wall Street Journal that the iPhone 5 was "the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled."
The difficulty mainly stems from the fact that the new handset is lighter and has a thinner design, requiring more precision from factory workers during the assembling process.
"It takes time to learn how to make this device. Practice makes perfect. Our productivity has been improving day by day," the official said at the time.
The handset's susceptibility to damage is another issue challenging the production line. The iPhone 5 has a relatively soft aluminum casing, which makes the smartphone more prone to cuffs and scratches compared to the glass back featured on the previous iteration, the iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 5 launched back in December, and shortly after a number of angry customers flooded various forums to complain that their new smartphone had arrived damaged. Reports soon emerged that Apple executives had ordered a quality-control alert at Foxconn in a bid to reduce the number of less-than-perfect handsets leaving factories. Meanwhile, other reports emerged pointing to riots among Foxconn employees following the quality-control crackdown.
Bottom line, more than six weeks after Apple unleashed its new iPhone 5, shipping time on its online store is still listing a waiting period between three and four weeks to get the handset. While high demand for a product is generally good news for any company, Apple will no doubt want Foxconn to find a way to assemble the smartphones at a faster rate. The solution to keeping up with iPhone 5 demand may involve Foxconn outsourcing some of the orders to other manufacturers.
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