While the new iPhone 5 is a marvel of engineering, its precision metal band is unfortunately quite scratch-prone — but Apple has made a change to the quality control process on its manufacturing lines to alleviate the issue, according to Bloomberg. Senior managers at Apple told Foxconn, the company's main manufacturing partner, that tighter production standards were necessary to keep the problem from becoming more widespread. Now, fewer metal bands are passing the quality control test, so hopefully scratch-prone phones will become a thing of the past. The downside to these tighter standards is that the phones will take a bit longer to produce, which will slow down how fast Apple is able to get phones into consumers' hands.
The news of these improved manufacturing standards corroborates earlier reports that Foxconn workers went on strike due to the increased pressure on manufacturing and quality control workers brought on by the high precision necessary in building the iPhone 5. Foxconn quickly denied these reports, but it does appear that workers are now being subject to higher quality control standards along with this more precise manufacturing process. Bloomberg spoke with five assembly line employees who all said that the iPhone 5 was more delicate and easy to scratch, and that the pressure on assembly line workers had intensified. We'll see if this new process yields more resilient iPhones once they get out to the market — and whether Foxconn suffers any more labor disputes as a result.