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Foxconn Thinks the iPhone 5 Is a Pain

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the hard-work dept.

China 312

pigrabbitbear writes "China's largest electronics manufacturer, the already-loathed Foxconn, is now taking the fall for the iPhone 5 shortage that's annoyed consumers and worried investors in recent weeks. What's the holdup? They don't have enough parts? They're training new line workers? They're too busy trying to regain control of their factories after employees started rioting? Nah. According to the company, the iPhone 5 is just a huge pain to put together. That bit about the riots is a little bit true, too, though."

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Ug (4, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41687891)

The quote from the unnamed Foxconn source is interesting, if true. (Good luck swapping the hard drive (flash) or battery like I have with my 80GB iPod!)

But this story has so much "attitude" it's unpleasant to get through.

Re:Ug (2, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41688529)

I agree, unconfirmed sources should be taken seriously and without question.
*Disclaimer - I hate Apple and all Apple related products. I disagree with their business philosophy of a walled garden, and think that only religious zealots should buy them.

Re:Ug (5, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#41688771)

I have no interest in defending Foxconn or Apple for the conditions in their factories, but yes, this article (and others on that site) is so flawed and snarky it's barely worth crediting.

My favorite gems:

The company had been running an internship program that put 14- to 16-year-old children on the factory floor

And the link they reference in that quote (to anther article on their OWN site) says it was vocational interns (16+) and college students (18+). So more accurate would be "16 to 22". You'd think they could quote their own articles correctly.

Also from that article referenced: The suicide rate at Foxconn is still lower than that of the general population in China, but striking for its concentration among a group of workers at a single company.

Wha?? Someone failed basic statistics. If the rate is lower over a population (where "rate" = incidents/population), how is the concentration (eh, also incidents/population) striking? In fact, it's only striking because of the *anecdotes* sensationalized by stories like this...

Basic human rights and working conditions in China are a big problem, but it doesn't help the cause to make up facts and statistics that don't exist...

Re:Ug (4, Insightful)

garaged (579941) | about 2 years ago | (#41688957)

Contextualizing, it is likely that work environment should discourage suicide, maybe the rate is alarming compared against similar factories

Re:Ug (4, Informative)

JakartaDean (834076) | about 2 years ago | (#41689155)

The company had been running an internship program that put 14- to 16-year-old children on the factory floor

And the link they reference in that quote (to anther article on their OWN site) says it was vocational interns (16+) and college students (18+). So more accurate would be "16 to 22".

I don't want to defend the authors, but Foxconn did recently admit that some of it vocational interns were 14 - 16 years old. It was on the BBC [bbc.co.uk] , among others.

You know what else is a pain? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41687955)

anal sex. Deal with it.

Re:You know what else is a pain? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41687985)

Na. Only if she has an anal fissure.

Re:You know what else is a pain? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41687991)

Or he.

If they had a line full of Chris Elliots, (-1, Redundant)

drfreak (303147) | about 2 years ago | (#41687977)

they could assemble the phone with their little hand [youtube.com] and not involve child labor!

Hey if China is whining about building them.... (3, Insightful)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#41687989)

Why not build them here? Yes they will cost slightly more but obviously given the rabid demand they haven't crossed the price point that drives away customers. The bigger issue is in spite dividends and buy backs and such Apple still has over 100 billion in their mattress and they don't have a clue what to do with it! Even with the increased production costs it's doubtful it would dent the 100 billion in the bank while it would mean hiring 500,000 new people that might turn into iPhone customers! It worked for Henry Ford. Being a good citizen could result in a windfall instead of reduced profits. Apple can't go broke at this point so why not help their mother country out for once? They get the added benefit of getting rid of two weeks in shipment delays due to having to ship them from China. They could also get them to Europe quicker so it's a win/win!

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688037)

Apple could ship them by air and still make a bundle off their 30% profit margins on their products. That only add 20+ hours to the shipping time.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

longacre (1090157) | about 2 years ago | (#41688587)

They do ship most of them by air. FedEx made a shit ton off the iPhone 5 launch.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688057)

Because even if the fans are rabbid, they're not going to pay $2500 for an iPhone vs $900 for a Samsung Galaxy SIII. You don't make money by throwing good after bad. There are good reasons to stop outsourcing manufacturing to the 3rd world, but it needs to be all companies on an equal footing....and it takes time to retool. Your idea is an immature fantasy in the literal sense unfortunately.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 2 years ago | (#41688161)

Where are you pulling your numbers from? I would like to know how you came to your price figures if they actually did that.

I don't care if you were sarcastic, I'm serious. I would like to know what the cost difference would be if the iPhone 5 was made in the USA versus China.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (5, Informative)

Xacid (560407) | about 2 years ago | (#41688563)

There was a slashdot article a while back explaining exactly what that difference would be. It was somewhere in the ballpark of $20-40 more per device.

Apple's comment regarding the topic "we're in the business of making phones, not creating jobs".

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#41688895)

I don't believe that's true though.

I look at apple tv, and nexus q, I look at the prices, and come to a very different conclusion.

the 30-40 dollar numbers are leaving something out.

Nexus Q and Apple TV not really comparable (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#41689407)

There was a slashdot article a while back explaining exactly what that difference would be. It was somewhere in the ballpark of $20-40 more per device.

I don't believe that's true though. I look at apple tv, and nexus q, I look at the prices, and come to a very different conclusion.

You should not be looking at price, you should be looking at cost. More specifically you should be looking at the portion of the cost that is locale specific, labor for example.

Plus the Nexus Q is a sphere not a box, it has moving parts, it is touch sensitive and it has an amplifier so that speakers can be plugged in directly. That suggests more complicated tooling, components and assembly.

Plus the Nexus Q is likely to be less popular so it would lack volume pricing on components. Yes there is some feedback here, price influences popularity, but Google presumably ran the numbers even selling the thing at cost and the volume numbers probably just weren't there.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

Xacid (560407) | about 2 years ago | (#41689415)

I'm not sure if I follow your comparison. Mind clarifying?

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (4, Informative)

scheme (19778) | about 2 years ago | (#41688565)

Where are you pulling your numbers from? I would like to know how you came to your price figures if they actually did that.

I don't care if you were sarcastic, I'm serious. I would like to know what the cost difference would be if the iPhone 5 was made in the USA versus China.

There have been studies that estimates are about $30 to $160 more per iphone in costs ( http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-iphone-manufacturing-cost-foxconn-2012-4 [businessinsider.com] ) . That means apple's margin for the devices would go from $452 in gross profits to around $293 per iphone. It'd cost more but wouldn't be outrageously more.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689147)

Are you crazy? In what world is a 35% drop in profitability anything other than HUGE??!!!

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about 2 years ago | (#41688571)

From 'shit-i've-heard-on-tv-dept'. I remember in Daily Show John was quoting some sources that claimed it would be like 20% more expensive.

Sorry, not gonna google for that :)

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688815)

Don't listen to Hodgman; he's a PC!

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688597)

Yes because foxconn spends so much time retooling, i mean emptying bags of components in plastic bins is so damned difficult and time consuming.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (2, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | about 2 years ago | (#41688081)

Why not build them here?

Because no one would do the job for $40 or less per hour with full benefits except for migrant/immigrant workers. Then those that didn't want the job would bitch how migrant/immigrant are taking their job. Mean while they don't actually want those jobs.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (3, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41688155)

Bullshit.

They could probably do it for around 20/hr in oklahoma. Many assembly work jobs go for that rate. The issue is unions. Since apple would be establishing a new manufacturing plant, and would come union free to start, they just have to keep it that way. Pay people on time, don't subject them to cancer causing chemicals, and give them proper work hours, and you are basically golden.

40$/hr doing assembly work?

I do fucking CAD/CAM and get paid way less than that!

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 2 years ago | (#41688241)

Bullshit.

They could probably do it for around 20/hr in oklahoma. Many assembly work jobs go for that rate. The issue is unions. Since apple would be establishing a new manufacturing plant, and would come union free to start, they just have to keep it that way. Pay people on time, don't subject them to cancer causing chemicals, and give them proper work hours, and you are basically golden.

40$/hr doing assembly work?

I do fucking CAD/CAM and get paid way less than that!

Riiight that why all the assembly jobs are still in the US.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (4, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#41688329)

OK, even if you accept the wages arguement, the Chinese will accept pay far below US minimum wage (around $8/hour in most states, last time I looked, although that was a while ago.)

But to be honest, the major reason is that companies like Foxconn are extremely good at getting an assembly line for a new product set up in a very short space of time. This was the reason the Raspberry Pi, for example, was outsourced to a non-Western country - Western manufacturers could match the price, but would take months to set up their production lines. Non-Western manufacturers could get everything set up in weeks.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41688383)

Not all assebly work is done overseas.

A noteworthy example is in aerospace. My employer hires at around 10/hr for unskilled assembly work.

The problem is that china can do your assembly work for 2/hr or cheaper. It isn't that nobody wants to do the work. Corporations see dollarsigns, and are addicted to essentially slave labor wages.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | about 2 years ago | (#41688639)

Corporations see dollarsigns, and are addicted to essentially slave labor wages.

You act as if consumers are oblivious to those same dollar signs. They are not. Most people who buy Apple products know they're somewhat overpriced to begin with and they're OK with that so long as it's only mildly above the price of competing products. Run the price of that iPhone up a bit and Apple will sell fewer of them or take a smaller profit margin (or both). People vote with their wallets, and Apple is in the business of making phones and making money, not a jobs program and not a welfare program.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41688887)

Consumers will buy whatever is the cheapest on the price-quality curve, almost without exception.

Cheap foriegn labor radically reduces prices. What one company does to get an edge, *all* companies will due, do to consumer trending and market domination by the initial adopter.

This is a race to the bottom. The only way to undercut now is literaly slavery.

Rather than see it through your view (people won't pay those prices now!), see it from mine. (We shouldn't have ever offered those prices via cheap labor to begin with, and used economies of scale to drive down price instead.)

I am NOT a fan of globalism. (But that doesn't mean I am a protectionist. I simply feel that it is unsustainable to expect a high wage economy to purchase high wage products indefinately, when employment rates in that high wage economy drop like rocks, as all the jobs move overseas, due to people chasing low low prices. The result muddies the market terribly, and I really don't see how it can be sustained. In the short term it makes you filthy ass rich. In the long term it causes protracted recessions.)

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 2 years ago | (#41688441)

All these kids today don't remember the paeans to the soul-killing, life-destroying assembly line jobs that were everywhere in the 70's and 80's. How quickly our country forgets.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688915)

40$/hr doing assembly work?

I do fucking CAD/CAM and get paid way less than that!

Seriously? Unless you are a few years out of school, seek new employment fast. You could be making this in an auto union easily.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41689137)

My employer offers other intangibles.

Namely, I work unsupervised, and have kick ass digs.

We aren't union, and don't get union grade pay. I actually disfavor unions.

I could easily get 40/hr, but am content not to. Work conditions are very relaxed and enjoyable.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (2)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#41688917)

Apple has said It's not the money, It's the oppressive hours, and people sleeping on campus where they can get awoken from slumber, drink a cup of coffee and start a 12 hour shift that makes China so good for manufacturing.

good luck getting work like that in the western world (we are privledged to have better conditions here).

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688989)

How is this bullshit? If you can do better, then compete with Foxconn. Do it, I'm waiting.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688091)

Don't they fly all of their parts over here? I believe I read a supply chain article about that.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (4, Informative)

MikeKD (549924) | about 2 years ago | (#41688147)

Why not build them here?

Because the rest of the supply chain [metafilter.com] (LCDs, RAM, etc) is still in East Asia?

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688997)

Why not build them here?

Because the rest of the supply chain [metafilter.com] (LCDs, RAM, etc) is still in East Asia?

It doesn't have to be. I work for a local company that could easily supply them with everything they need, right in the middle of the US.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#41689367)

LOL. Care to name this mythical manufacturing giant, then?

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41689369)

That's almost irrelevant. We have ships.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (4, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41688151)

Why not build them here? Yes they will cost slightly more but obviously given the rabid demand they haven't crossed the price point that drives away customers. The bigger issue is in spite dividends and buy backs and such Apple still has over 100 billion in their mattress and they don't have a clue what to do with it! Even with the increased production costs it's doubtful it would dent the 100 billion in the bank while it would mean hiring 500,000 new people that might turn into iPhone customers! It worked for Henry Ford. Being a good citizen could result in a windfall instead of reduced profits. Apple can't go broke at this point so why not help their mother country out for once? They get the added benefit of getting rid of two weeks in shipment delays due to having to ship them from China. They could also get them to Europe quicker so it's a win/win!

A Chinese Foxconn worker makes around $400/month [extremetech.com] , $4800 year. A worker in the USA would cost about 10 times as much once benefits are included.

If it takes 500,000 chinese workers to make the phone, it would probably take 600,000 - 750,000 USA workers because USA workers aren't going to put in the same amount of overtime. But it if takes 500,000....500,000 times $50,000/year is $25B/year in labor costs alone and ignores the billions it would cost to build the factories.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

AdamWill (604569) | about 2 years ago | (#41688229)

"If it takes 500,000 chinese workers to make the phone"

It doesn't. Foxconn makes all sorts of other stuff too. They don't have half a million people doing nothing but crank out iPhones.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688309)

This assumes an "all or nothing" kinda of deal which isn't necessary.

The EU tends to tax finished products significantly higher than it does components or parts. Hence my mostly China/Japan made TV is "Assembled in Belgium", which really just means they put the screen and the power supply into the casing. Apple could do something similar. They don't need to spend billions to essentially rebuild Foxconn and its supply chain. They could simply start by shipping in the parts and having it assembled in the USA. Once that is up and running other companies can start talking to Apple about moving more parts of the process to the USA in an order and time that makes sense.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688319)

$25B/year in labor costs alone and ignores the billions it would cost to build the factories.

So its down to the question: Does industry exist to serve humanity or does humanity exist to serve industry ?

Stuffing billions into a mattress sounds more like the latter being the mode of operation.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41688335)

$25B/year in labor costs alone and ignores the billions it would cost to build the factories.

So its down to the question: Does industry exist to serve humanity or does humanity exist to serve industry ?

Stuffing billions into a mattress sounds more like the latter being the mode of operation.

Which humans are you talking about? The Foxconn worker making $400/month is probably as happy to have a paycheck as the guy in the USA sweeping the floors of McDonalds for $2000/month.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688759)

How did this get +5 informative? His statement assumes the transition from Chinese labor to American labor is nothing more than moving the plant. No automation or mechanization bringing it to America. It would take less workers in the US not more. Your statement is outrageous and shows you know nothing of manufacturing differences between the US and China. It would cost around $70 more per iPhone to make it in the US. Your super inflated number of 100,000 to 250,000 more employees wouldn't make that possible. So who knows less? You, or the people whose lives depend on understanding the economics.

Probably you, right?

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41689205)

How did this get +5 informative? His statement assumes the transition from Chinese labor to American labor is nothing more than moving the plant. No automation or mechanization bringing it to America. It would take less workers in the US not more.

Well yeah, it's not just moving the plant that does the assembly, it's moving plants for a lot of the suppliers too. Besides the cheap labor costs, one of the big strengths of Chinese manufacturing is the proximity to suppliers.

The reason there would be more automation in an American plan is because automation is cheaper than American workers, but not necessarily cheaper than Chinese workers. So while automation may reduce worker headcount, it wouldn't necessarily result in a proportional decrease in costs. Though it's not clear how much of the assembly can be automated.

Your super inflated number of 100,000 to 250,000 more employees wouldn't make that possible.

As someone that's worked in a union shop, I can guarantee that American workers are not going to put up with the 20 hours of overtime that Foxconn workers are reportedly subject to week after week (and even if they did, it would be cheaper to add on an entire shift of workers than pay one shift of workers 20 hours of overtime), so an American plant is going to need more workers for the same amount of work.

Totally Wrong. (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#41688835)

Caterpillar has 2 pay scales. The new one starts ppl at 11/hr with zero benefits. IOW, 22K/year. Then you add in the fact that the yuan is manipulated to be about 1/3 of where it is at, then you realize that CHinese workers are making pretty damn close to what American workers currently make. The only REAL advantage that China has right now, is there manipulation of their money, the dumping, the subsidies, and the trade barriers to others coming in to their markets.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

highacnumber (988934) | about 2 years ago | (#41689033)

It doesn't take anywhere near 500,00 workers to build those phones.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#41689399)

Ah, but you see, in first world you automate a lot of such production because it's cheaper. The setup is costlier, but repeatability goes up vs. unpredictableness of tired labor force, and longer term you can actually make it cheaper than in asia. Once your setup is done, adding robot cells to the line only costs you amortization -- capital equipment can be leased and scaled with demand. Sure Foxconn can set up stuff in a couple of weeks because they have next to no programmable machinery outside of various test cells, it's mostly all manual labor with some custom but simple tools. In the U.S., if you get a bunch of dedicated manufacturing people, they could set up automation about just as quick, given proper resources.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (-1, Troll)

santax (1541065) | about 2 years ago | (#41688219)

Because apple doesn't give a shit about their mother country... Apple however, does give a shit about money, that's why they stole their OS, stole all their designs and have outsourced everything that can be outsourced to companies that gladly will push little kids to the limit and over it (suicide)... Apple doesn't care about you. Apple does only care about your money. And it's willing to do everything for it, including the indirect murder of kids.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1)

MoronGames (632186) | about 2 years ago | (#41688437)

Replace "Apple" with almost any other electronics company's name and your paragraph will still be true.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688443)

Stole their OS. Not sure if you're just nerd raging or don't understand open source licenses that aren't the GPL...

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (2)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#41688507)

Because apple doesn't give a shit about their mother country... Apple however, does give a shit about money, that's why they stole their OS, stole all their designs and have outsourced everything that can be outsourced to companies that gladly will push little kids to the limit and over it (suicide)... Apple doesn't care about you. Apple does only care about your money. And it's willing to do everything for it, including the indirect murder of kids.

How do you steal code that is under a BSD license (FreeBSD, and Mach mircrokernal)? Or did you mean NextStep which they bought?

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (1, Informative)

santax (1541065) | about 2 years ago | (#41688671)

You don't steal the code... you steal the guy that is writing it... John Hubbard. Apple, that firm that invents nothing, but steals everything (Jobs said so himself!) and became filthy rich with FreeBSD, offered John Hubbard so much money he could not resist. There is 1 guy working at apple that has access to the freebsd source (with a account...) and there is 1 guy who has made a couple of contributions since... I wonder who that guy is. a 100 billion company that owns everything to BSD, has bought away the mainguy behind it, and now has 1 guy that sometimes contributes back.... That is how you steal from a BSD license my friend. Apple is the end of innovation and should be fought with fire.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (4, Informative)

Karlt1 (231423) | about 2 years ago | (#41688817)

"you steal the guy that is writing it... John Hubbard. Apple, that firm that invents nothing, but steals everything (Jobs said so himself!) and became filthy rich with FreeBSD, offered John Hubbard so much money he could not resist...... has bought away the mainguy behind it"

So you steal stuff by paying for it?

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688991)

Darn, if only I could steal something by paying the guy who wrote it, how unfair to the rest of us who never paid him.

Are you 14?

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689145)

I'm pretty sure most 14 year old kids aren't that retarded.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689403)

As opposed to Samsung who creates military weapons systems and designs and constructs oil refineries. Yeah they care about you a lot.

I cannot fucking believe you faggot shitheads have modded this up to 5 Insightful. I see the Twitter generation is now in control here. Enjoy the sewer.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688287)

It's my understanding that labor costs are only part of the issue. Managing the extremely complex supply chain is a larger problem. Many of the parts come from Asian. Foxconn is conveniently located in Asia, near the supply chain. Foxconn knows how to work with the suppliers and can manage that aspect of the business far more efficiently than any American company could ever dream to do today.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688581)

Because of a huge tax advantage.

Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#41688727)

You're seriously naive. Labor costs are a miniscule part of why they are manufactured in China. Most importantly is likely the fact that they can just dump all their waste in the local river. Then you have the benefit of the factory being surrounded by the largest, and one of the most oppressive governments on earth... Spying on that factory is difficult and any workers that get out of line get disappeared for making the proletariat look bad. Shipping form China is dirt cheap. I order stuff off of Alibaba (Basically the Chinese version of Amazon or eBay) all the time and items much larger than an iPhone I can get here in under a week for about $6. If you were shipping a few thousands iPhones at a time I'm guessing shipping costs would be less than a $1 a phone and you could get it here overnight.

The Iphone 6 do it yourself kit (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688007)

Now available in stores. We took the same great design as the IPHONE 5 but made it BETTER. It's better because you do it yourself! Now you can feel an even closer relationship with your Iphone because yes that is your blood sweat and tears that went into making it come alive.. Literally its razor fucking sharp kids.
*Kids under the age of 15 need adult supervision "what you pay them is up to you"

Re:The Iphone 6 do it yourself kit (0)

Rivalz (1431453) | about 2 years ago | (#41688023)

LOL priceless.. but yet so true.

Re:The Iphone 6 do it yourself kit (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about 2 years ago | (#41688193)

I still treasure the ancient memory of opening up a Sony Walkman. Some machines aren't meant to be touched by human hands.

Re:The Iphone 6 do it yourself kit (2)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41689151)

I still treasure the ancient memory of opening up a Sony Walkman. Some machines aren't meant to be touched by human hands.

The Walkman was assembled by a rather simple robotic assembly cell. It was designed for vertical assembly - all the parts were inserted with a straight-down motion. That's not new; cheap clocks and watches were made that way a century ago. The back is made with pins and recesses so that everything aligns with the back. Once all the parts are in, the top is put on, locking everything into place.

Some phones are made that way. Nokia and Motorola "brick" phones went together that way. Flip phones were a little more complex. Now that we're back to a "brick" phone with the iPhone, vertical assembly should be possible again.

Looking at the teardown, the thing was clearly designed for human assembly. Too many screws, not enough self-alignment. The electronics board is presumably assembled automatically; machines do surface mount far better than people. All those little metal RF shields have to be screwed on by hand, and that's fine work on fragile parts. There's not much wiring; the wiring seems to be concentrated into a single wiring harness.

By watchmaking standards, this assembly job is nothing. Timex, in the mechanical watch era, could have banged those things out with no problem. You do need to have experienced people used to working with tweezers under magnifiers. Foxconn's problems probably come from trying to do the job with armies of inexperienced assemblers.

Pain? (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41688033)

Foxconn may say the iphone5 is a pain, but I think the workers getting paid peanuts for 80 hours shifts might have a different idea of what 'pain' means. Besides, how much quality assembly is really possible when your workforce is bleary-eyed and exhausted? I bet there's a lot of QA rejects and extra controls required to keep quality from plummeting.

Re:Pain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688117)

I think you need to change your sig to

In the beginning, there was everything. Then it changed.

This is my guarantee... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 2 years ago | (#41688039)

...that the four words,

"...Apple's attention to detail..."

are going to be part of the discourse as slashdotters exchange ideas on Apple, despite whatever happened to the phrase when one considers the maps fiacso and the chipping issues [apple.com] that have been part of the latest iphone story.

And it won't be long, trust me on that...just saying.

Re:This is my guarantee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688711)

Yea, because Microsoft and Google never made a mistake with an OS or a product, just saying.

iFixit (5, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | about 2 years ago | (#41688051)

That's ironic, because iFixit finally gave the iPhone 5 a much better score than all previous generations as far as repair goes. In the factory the boards are populated by machine, leaving the final assembly of the various parts by hand, which is basically the same process you have when manually disassembling / reassembling the device. Just doesn't jive with what iFixit had to say [ifixit.com] . Sounds like they are trying to shift blame to me.

Re:iFixit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688195)

The tolerances Apple gave Foxconn went from .2 to .1mm, IIRC, which is difficult for a human worker to do fast, even with magnifiers and the proper tools.

Re:iFixit (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41688327)

The tolerances Apple gave Foxconn went from .2 to .1mm, IIRC, which is difficult for a human worker to do fast, even with magnifiers and the proper tools.

It sure isn't. That's a design and manufacturing issue. If the device is designed correctly then as long as the tech puts the screws in the right holes, and performs all the steps in the proper order, then the device will be properly aligned.

Re:iFixit (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#41688397)

.1mm of WHAT? Is that the mould specifications (fairly easy with a CNC and plastic injection), the battery placement specifications (impossible), hot-glue thickness, or screw tightness (invalid unit and I doubt it has any screws anyways).

Re:iFixit (2, Interesting)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about 2 years ago | (#41688251)

Thanks for that! I found two amusing bits of information in there:
-The screen replacement is far superior in the iPhone 5 than the Galaxy S3 (I looked at their piece on the S3 afterward).
-I was most amused at finding out the iPhone 5 battery and camera are made by Sony... hopefully this silences some of those people who feel the need to post about having not bought a Sony product since **insert ancient history here**.

Re:iFixit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688465)

iFixit said that the display was easier to replace than any of the other iPhones. This says nothing about how complex the individual parts are to manufacture. Obviously Foxconn does more than just take the large pieces of the phone and assemble them inside the case.

Re:iFixit (3, Funny)

lewiscr (3314) | about 2 years ago | (#41688487)

Sounds like they are trying to shift blame to me.

What did YOU DO?

Design for manufacturing? (5, Interesting)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#41688103)

Any Slashdotters know anything about manufacturing engineering, and would like to fill us in on why Apple can construct such a sophisticated thing as an iPhone 5, that still needs to be assembled largely by hand?

Surely a mass-marketed consumer device like that, they'd design for manufacturability, and/or design the tools required to assemble it efficiently?

Maybe, with (Chinese) labour costs being such an insignificant part of the sticker price, it's simply not worth the trouble?

Re:Design for manufacturing? (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 2 years ago | (#41688153)

Any Slashdotters know anything about manufacturing engineering, and would like to fill us in on why Apple can construct such a sophisticated thing as an iPhone 5, that still needs to be assembled largely by hand?

Surely a mass-marketed consumer device like that, they'd design for manufacturability, and/or design the tools required to assemble it efficiently?

Maybe, with (Chinese) labour costs being such an insignificant part of the sticker price, it's simply not worth the trouble?

The Chinese will just release a slightly redesigned pirate copy that'll be (almost) as good as the real thing and so easy to mass produce that it'll swamp the market even more than pirate copys usually do.

Re:Design for manufacturing? (-1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41688181)

There is no substitute for human ingenuity on the assembly floor.

Robots can be quite robust, but they can't do the complex operations that humans can, or deal with faults in production flow like humans can.

Until we have strong ai powered robot slaves, cheap human labor for assembly operations will always be king.

Re:Design for manufacturing? (4, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 2 years ago | (#41688223)

They can't build robots capable of the same wide variety of fine, rapid movements as people. Assembling the device robotically would require a large number of purpose build machines to carry out each step. That would add years to the amount of time it takes to bring a product to market, which is unacceptable in consumer electronics.

Re:Design for manufacturing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688243)

Because machines often lack the finesse of human fingers. Doesn't help with the fact that a few years of Chinese labor will still be orders of magnitude cheaper then a machine that's in use for a few years (not even taking in account that machines may not always be able to be re-purposed due to ever changing designs). Machines also requires maintenance so there is still a recurring cost.

In the end, machines are great for some parts of mass production, in others, it's still much cheaper to use Chinese labor force. When 1 machine may cost more then 10 years of your entire work force, it's a no brainer which one companies would choose.

Re:Design for manufacturing? (5, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about 2 years ago | (#41688279)

Because robots have more human rights in China.

Re:Design for manufacturing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688359)

There's at least a dozen Mitt jokes in that statement.

Re:Design for manufacturing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688471)

Odd. Foxconn had to let go of many employees because they were underage (less than 16 year old in China).

Did you know in the US you can hire a 12 year old to work the crops?

I guess that means the tiller has more rights in the USA?

Re:Design for manufacturing? (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 years ago | (#41688607)

Yeah, go ahead and try to hire anyone under 16for a job. Ever read the work restrictions for a minor? While the age restriction is true, the amount of hour, allowed times to work, etc... Make it so difficult that it rarely happens (legally anyway).

Re:Design for manufacturing? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#41688393)

I'm in China manufacturing, and it baffles me that Apple can get excellent-quality, highly sophisticated goods like the iPhone out and on schedule. It just blows my mind.

Nineteen components, and they still get it wrong.

Re:Design for manufacturing? (4, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | about 2 years ago | (#41688405)

It's perfectly normal for final assembly to be done by hand. We're not talking soldering here, but inserting flat cables into sockets, clipping PCBs into place inside the aluminium chassis, and closing everything up. It would take quite specialized machinery to automate this, and the lifespan of the average iPhone model is just not long enough to justify that.

Re:Design for manufacturing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688421)

Humans are much more flexible. Even for "same product" production lines there are often multiple versions of various parts with small but important differences. (E.g. multiple screen suppliers.) Humans can be trained to deal with this and switch pretty much on the fly. Machines may need retooling, recalibrating, testing, etc.

Re:Design for manufacturing? (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about 2 years ago | (#41688869)

From what I understand it's actually fairly simple.

At the present time, robots which are capable of safely manipulating the screens are more expensive than the humans that do it now. A robot could of course assemble the rest of it, but when you need a human to go and put the screen in on every unit anyway, you may as well have them put the rest of it together too.

it may be a pain in the butt for people (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688129)

but doing putting lots of small parts in exactly the right place over and over again is the kind of thing our robot overlords should be good at.

Apple is missing an opportunity here (1)

Cute and Cuddly (2646619) | about 2 years ago | (#41688185)

They should sell the iphone as a kit. Have fun building it yourself!

Re:Apple is missing an opportunity here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688271)

I recently cracked the screen on my iPhone 4s. Being mildly handy, I went to check out the repair kits and instructions to fix it myself.
To replace the glass, you essentially have to dismantle the whole thing from the back to get to the screws holding the glass in place.

I just stuck some packing tape over the crack, seems to work fine this way!

Re:Apple is missing an opportunity here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688447)

Yeah, build it yourself, and then when you're done you can't do with it what you want without rooting it and voiding the warranty.

Thin is In (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#41688331)

TFA: The company had been running an internship program that put 14- to 16-year-old children on the factory floor, and if you've ever built a Lego spaceship with a teenager, you'll know that those nimble little fingers are great at dealing with the small parts.

Because the iPhone 6 will be as thin as a credit card, Apple will hire fetuses.

trollko8e (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41688381)

Of course it is a pain (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#41688503)

It is pure magic! The thing doesn't obey the rules of physics.
Geez, what did they expect?

How are these workers going to react (1)

Blinkin1200 (917437) | about 2 years ago | (#41688511)

How are these workers going to react when they find out the next iPhone will be assembled by robots?

We have the technology, it is just a small matter of programming.

Why does anyone still care? (3, Insightful)

firesyde424 (1127527) | about 2 years ago | (#41689433)

The folks who stood in line for hours(or days in some cases), or ordered one online and still haven't seen it yet, got screwed. Not because of manufacturing delays, but because they bought a phone that was already out of date before it was even released. HTC and Samsung had better phones out eight and six months ago, respectively. I bought the one x. It has a better LCD, better resolution, better talk time, same resolution camera, NFC, WiFi direct, and a whole list of other things the "cutting edge" iPhone 5 doesn't have. And here's the punchline..... I paid $300 less for my One X than you did for the 32 gb iPhone 5.

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