iPhone 5 production slows down: unsatisfactory build quality

Every phone suffers a little wear and tear every now and again, but reports have surfaced about how Apple's new device's aluminium back and bezel could get scratched very easily – with some people even finding their devices slightly scratched after being unboxed.

While the iPhone 5's finish and design aesthetics are generally more appealing than the iPhone 4 and 4S, consumers have found the metal quite flimsy.

The Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Marketing over at Apple, Phillip W. Schiller, has responded to these claims by stating the company considered this "normal,” which we know isn't the case.

Manufacturer Foxconn is now conducting stricter inspections of its iPhone 5 assembly line as of Wednesday, since Apple want the standards upped for the future assembly of its gadgets.

As a result of this issue, analysts at RBC Capital Markets have already reduced Apple's iPhone 5 sales estimates from 57 million to 49 million, but let's hope the next builds are improved in quality.

Source: SlashGear | Image credit: CNet

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Shanghai getting a Windows 8 launch event

Next Story

Kupa UltraNote Windows 8 Pro-powered device announced

41 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The design of the iPhone 5 is awesome and it's light as a feather. It looks great. That being said it does chip very easily. I have the white version and the silver aluminum chipped in 3 spots from me dropping it. I also dropped it just an inch of the ground right on the front and it scratched the glass and gave it a hairline crack which surprised me. It's a beautiful light phone but if your prone to dropping it-which is more likely with this phone then just get a case. I have one on the way.

I would hate that the phone is scratched from the box, but scratches from use happen in all phones. I actually, I saw some drop test and the phone actually fared way better than the Galaxy S3. Of course, I don't think those test are well done and cannot be conclusive.

The scratches out of the box are for sure a factory process problem and it can be fixed easily. Now, I won't get mad if they actually make it even more resistant. If they do Apple won't publicly admit it, they don't want to change the already sold phones.

rahvii said,
I would hate that the phone is scratched from the box, but scratches from use happen in all phones. I actually, I saw some drop test and the phone actually fared way better than the Galaxy S3. Of course, I don't think those test are well done and cannot be conclusive.

The scratches out of the box are for sure a factory process problem and it can be fixed easily. Now, I won't get mad if they actually make it even more resistant. If they do Apple won't publicly admit it, they don't want to change the already sold phones.

Scratches happen to all phones phones from usage? That os false. It doesn't. I had a Droid Incredible for 6 months and I never had a case or screen protector and it looked exactly as it did the day I took it out the box. A phone shouldn't be able to be damaged from something as simple as sliding it inside your pocket. Sorry, you fail miserably with that lie/opinion.

Now to give you some slack, more expensive materials do damage easier in some cases. Example, if your car was made from Aluminum or Carbon Fiber, even tho it would be rigidly sound, the skin would damage easy from something as simple as a shipping cart bump.

For a device you plan to handle 100's of times per day, making it pout of such poor easy to damage materials is just bad judgement.
I paid cash for my iPhone 4S 64GB...that 899.99 + tax. For $960 I expect it should be more resilient than Android devices that cost $650 and are made of plastic. But guess what, Apple again choose looks over function and it again has bit them in the arse. First the iPhone 4 with its antenna issues, the 4S with both sides made of glass and now this.

When are you all going to learn. I have a GS3 now and the only damage it has is some scratches on the silver rim from 3 drips. Nothing serious tho. But I do knwo the same drop would have cracked all 3 models of teh last iPhone. yet I paid $650 for the GS3 and an additional $50 for 64GB of storage. Not only do I have more storage, bigger screen and more; I also have a phone that doesn't damage from daily usage or isn't damaged out the box.

if I bought a brand new phoen and it was damaged out the box, I'd return it to the store and forcethem to give me a brand new one off the shelf or give me a refund IMMEDIATELY. But you fans wont do that and that si why Apple doesn't give a rats butt what they sell u.

This is exactly like the iMac issues. People waited as long as 3 weeks only to have the product arrive damaged and not working. But look what an iMac costs. For what it costs it should arrive in a case that can't be damaged even by fire.

I personally will never be buying Apple's junky expensive crap anymore. I get served better by Google.

TechieXP said,
Scratches happen to all phones phones from usage? That os false. It doesn't. I had a Droid Incredible for 6 months and I never had a case or screen protector and it looked exactly as it did the day I took it out the box. A phone shouldn't be able to be damaged from something as simple as sliding it inside your pocket. Sorry, you fail miserably with that lie/opinion.

First I said a very generic term: "use", and I did not say "from sliding inside your pocket". Phone do scratch from several actions that will conform the normal use of the phone. Some pieces of dust can scratch your surface when you are using it for example, it doesn't matter what brand the phone is, it will scratch. Also, I didn't say iPhone 5 is more o less scratch resistant than other phones, I just stated that phone scratch, always.

Second, if you really care about scratches in your phones there has always been solutions to that, protector film/plastic and cases do precisely that. Is the only solution if you want your phone to look new/almost new.

Thrid, I mention a drop video where the iPhone 5 wins a drop test vs the GS3 and was made by an android publication. Again, I said that these doesn't mean anything, you would have to do this test several times until you've got significant results, but no youtuber, blog or magazine has that kind of money to invest on it. Here's the video btw: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M5q5TRuAsY

My point: I'm concerned about scratches out of the box, because they shouldn't be there in the first place, but scratches from use (i.e. after you start using it) always happen and the only way to do something about it is protecting the phone. I don't know if the G3S is less or more scratch resistant, what I do know if that there was one case where it was less resistant to drops, which is ultimately way more important that being scratch resistant. That was why I mentioned the drop test, and I'm sorry if that was not clear enough.

Both are amazing phones and I'm glad you are enjoying your GS3 .

iPhones and conversely iPods have always been insanely easy to scratch. I used a case for my iPhone 3GS and it was still scratched to hell. On the other hand, my Galaxy S2 barely has a scratch on it. I've dropped it on cement and ceramic tile multiple times and don't use any kind of protectors.

Apple's motto: charge more for less. Some day neowin should figure out what the premium is for having that apple with a bite out of it on your iCrap. I would estimate 300-400 for the iPhone.

Everyone was on about how the lumina's were plastic and rubbish.... T'DAAAAA!!! I would take it back if it was me and get a refund.

Brian Miller said,
Jobs dies, so does Apple quality.

Antenna Gate happened while Jobs was still there, and that's way worse than scratches.

Part of the article

The Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Marketing over at Apple, Phillip W. Schiller, has responded to these claims by stating the company considered this "normal,” which we know isn't the case.
No, you don't know for sure that it isn't the case. You're merely assuming, basing that assumption on no evidence. It could well be that it isn't the case, but it's unreasonable to state for sure without evidence.

Apple, like any other company, test their hardware, and it could well be that they consider this normal. Of course, there have been hardware problems in the past (e.g. the iPhone 4's antennae issue), so these kinds of problems don't always get spotted before production, but that doesn't mean you can claim Apple is lying about everything without any evidence.

Calum said,
No, you don't know for sure that it isn't the case. You're merely assuming, basing that assumption on no evidence. It could well be that it isn't the case, but it's unreasonable to state for sure without evidence.

Apple, like any other company, test their hardware, and it could well be that they consider this normal. Of course, there have been hardware problems in the past (e.g. the iPhone 4's antennae issue), so these kinds of problems don't always get spotted before production, but that doesn't mean you can claim Apple is lying about everything without any evidence.

It's not an assumption. If a device scratches two weeks after its release with very little effort, then it is hardly normal.

Regardless of branding, anything at the iPhone's tariff and price-point shouldn't start wearing and tearing this badly two weeks since release.

Zeikku said,

It's not an assumption. If a device scratches two weeks after its release with very little effort, then it is hardly normal.

Regardless of branding, anything at the iPhone's tariff and price-point shouldn't start wearing and tearing this badly two weeks since release.


If it scratched so easily and so soon, it's very likely that Apple picked up on it during their testing and it's thus very likely that they knew about it. If they knew about it and didn't fix it (for whatever reason; e.g. lack of time), it could reasonably be considered "normal" behaviour for the iPhone 5.

Calum said,
No, you don't know for sure that it isn't the case. You're merely assuming, basing that assumption on no evidence. It could well be that it isn't the case, but it's unreasonable to state for sure without evidence.

Apple, like any other company, test their hardware, and it could well be that they consider this normal. Of course, there have been hardware problems in the past (e.g. the iPhone 4's antennae issue), so these kinds of problems don't always get spotted before production, but that doesn't mean you can claim Apple is lying about everything without any evidence.

What? The iPhone 4's antenna issue was discovered during testing. Steve Jobs said from his own mouth, "they didn't think it was such a big deal". In the 90's Apple/Steve Jobs actually sold Macs with heatsinks and fans. When boards were damage they charged for the repair saying it was the customers fault. "They were using them wrong". Someone sued Apple and won and it forced Apple to not only refund all the ones they charged for the fix, but also fix subsequent repairs for free.

Do you actually think it was a blind coincidence that Apple mad a band that covered only the sides of the phone? Come on man, please tell me you have SOME God given common sense. They saw a problem, they made a fix, they tried to sell the fix as an accessory. The reason they rushed to give it free is because once they admitted they did see a problem they would have been sued for trying to sell the repair. No other time in iPhone or iPad or iPod history has Apple EVER made a case of any kind. So compare the band for the 4 to the cases made for phones overall. No one else made such a band until Apple showed the one they had than others copied for the exact same reason.

Every model of the iPhone they have made has had for a fact the same exact connection issues with 3G and WiFI. This isn't a component issue, this si a phone design issue. The iPhone 4 however was so bad, that covering the gaps also messed up devices connect via BlueTooth.

Stop trying to find a escape-goat for Apple. For what their crap cost I feel it should never have ANY quality issues whatsoever. You look crazy trying to defend them. Its really tiring that fans keep doing so.

TechieXP said,

What? The iPhone 4's antenna issue was discovered during testing. Steve Jobs said from his own mouth, "they didn't think it was such a big deal". In the 90's Apple/Steve Jobs actually sold Macs with heatsinks and fans. When boards were damage they charged for the repair saying it was the customers fault. "They were using them wrong". Someone sued Apple and won and it forced Apple to not only refund all the ones they charged for the fix, but also fix subsequent repairs for free.

Do you actually think it was a blind coincidence that Apple mad a band that covered only the sides of the phone? Come on man, please tell me you have SOME God given common sense. They saw a problem, they made a fix, they tried to sell the fix as an accessory. The reason they rushed to give it free is because once they admitted they did see a problem they would have been sued for trying to sell the repair. No other time in iPhone or iPad or iPod history has Apple EVER made a case of any kind. So compare the band for the 4 to the cases made for phones overall. No one else made such a band until Apple showed the one they had than others copied for the exact same reason.

Every model of the iPhone they have made has had for a fact the same exact connection issues with 3G and WiFI. This isn't a component issue, this si a phone design issue. The iPhone 4 however was so bad, that covering the gaps also messed up devices connect via BlueTooth.

Stop trying to find a escape-goat for Apple. For what their crap cost I feel it should never have ANY quality issues whatsoever. You look crazy trying to defend them. Its really tiring that fans keep doing so.


I do have common sense.

That's why I'm pointing out that someone, especially a reporter, cannot reasonably state something without there being evidence to support it.

That's all I'm saying.

I'm not suggesting people can't speculate or suggest, but this reporter said "we know." No, we don't know. We're speculating.

I suspect that this isn't normal behaviour, but because I have no evidence that Apple don't really believe this, it would be wrong of me to state with certainty that I know they don't.

That was my point.

Calum said,

If it scratched so easily and so soon, it's very likely that Apple picked up on it during their testing and it's thus very likely that they knew about it. If they knew about it and didn't fix it (for whatever reason; e.g. lack of time), it could reasonably be considered "normal" behaviour for the iPhone 5.

reasonably? normal?

not sure if trolling.

technikal said,

reasonably? normal?

not sure if trolling.


I'm not trying to claim it's normal or anything, and I'm not trying to claim Apple aren't lying about this.

I'm merely pointing out that it's wrong for anyone to assert something like that without evidence. Speculation or suggestion are fine; affirmation is not.

Its aluminium so its not going to be very scratch resistant.

All phones scratch to some degree, but are they saying these are easier than any other phone?

If you care about your phone that much get a case and a screen protector, simples

Teebor said,
Its aluminium so its not going to be very scratch resistant.

All phones scratch to some degree, but are they saying these are easier than any other phone?

If you care about your phone that much get a case and a screen protector, simples

I have had a phone that is fully aluminium for 2 years and it doesn't have a screen protector or a case.
It looks like brand new. There might be micro scratches on the aluminium itself but you definitely can't see it. Definitely no chunks out of it like this iPhone 5 build.

Teebor said,
Its aluminium so its not going to be very scratch resistant.

I have black anodized heatsinks on my desk right now that are far more scratch resistant than an iPhone.

Teebor said,
Its aluminium so its not going to be very scratch resistant.

All phones scratch to some degree, but are they saying these are easier than any other phone?

If you care about your phone that much get a case and a screen protector, simples

The reality distortion field in full effect here.

You are wrong. There are different grades of aluminum. The problem is, Apple had to use a thinner grade because the antenna is in the side. if the grade was higher it woudl cause signalling issues and the metal would be to thick to allow radio wave penetration.

The lower the grade the easier to damage. They may as well be using die-cast metal. Know what that is? Hot Wheels uses die cast metal to make their cars, see how easy they get damage even from the slightest usage? if you are going to use aluminum which cost more than die-casting, yet you get the same results in the end, than the higher cost is not worth it.

I am so happy I use a plastic phone. HAHAHAHAHAHH!!!!

I was going to share this on facebook for all my iPhone loving friends (yes I have friends tht actually love the device, as in real love ).

But I anticipated the response - we all use cases!

Yeah, you bloody well have to, if its not an antennae issue its scratches but the reality distortion field is strong.

duddit2 said,
I was going to share this on facebook for all my iPhone loving friends (yes I have friends tht actually love the device, as in real love ).

But I anticipated the response - we all use cases!

Yeah, you bloody well have to, if its not an antennae issue its scratches but the reality distortion field is strong.

My experience has been the opposite. Having owned an iPhone 4 the antenna on them scratches VERY easily. Impossible to keep the scratch free without a case. And the glass back was also prone to scratches.

I've had the iPhone 5 since launch day (I had no marks on mine out of the box) and I never use a case (I like the feel of a phone in my hand) and there's still not a single scratch on the antenna or the back even though I've been putting it down on its back on the desk all the time.

I think quality control aside, once you have an iPhone 5 with no marks on from the start my experience is its quite hard to scratch it accidentally.

duddit2 said,
I was going to share this on facebook for all my iPhone loving friends (yes I have friends tht actually love the device, as in real love ).

But I anticipated the response - we all use cases!

Yeah, you bloody well have to, if its not an antennae issue its scratches but the reality distortion field is strong.

True. Ive got an iPhone 4 and from day one Ive had one of those carbon skins on it. For me its meant its kept it in immaculate condition thus has a higher resale value. I dont understand this whole thing about getting a white iphone because if you have any common sense you will put a cover on it.

Neobond said,
I've used a case with my iPhone 4 since I got it, makes it heavier too
yep heavier, uglier and heavier. In fact with a case, it looks like one of those cheap Android/Bada/Nokia phones with a ugly OS running on it.

TechieXP said,
yep heavier, uglier and heavier. In fact with a case, it looks like one of those cheap Android/Bada/Nokia phones with a ugly OS running on it.

Trolls obviously have bad taste!
IMHO the iPhone 5 really looks like last years style. Personally I never felt the iPhone 4 looked really that good. Personally the iPhone 5 seems like a beta product.. this has to be admitted.

One thing they could do is release a bumper case for it, then a year or two later when it's falling to peices, you don't really mind if the bezel gets slightly damaged without it as the phone is old anyway

I went for apple shop the other day and had a look. Looks lovely etc etc, but the bezel did have some little chunks taken out of it which looked terrible, considering it has only been in the shop a day or two.

I think my iphone4 would have the same nicks etc, but as it's silver colour anyway it's harder to see, whereas the 5 is darker and literally only sprayed on, rather than the whole metal plate being black metal.

Shame, but I won't be purchasing the 5 anyway

Dan~ said,
I went for apple shop the other day and had a look. Looks lovely etc etc, but the bezel did have some little chunks taken out of it which looked terrible, considering it has only been in the shop a day or two.

I think my iphone4 would have the same nicks etc, but as it's silver colour anyway it's harder to see, whereas the 5 is darker and literally only sprayed on, rather than the whole metal plate being black metal.

Shame, but I won't be purchasing the 5 anyway


I think that's why Nokia's polycarbonate will be better. Harder to scratch and if it does scratch the colour is all the way through and thus the scratches won't show up. If only they could reduce the weight. My contract expires in a few weeks and I'll probably buy a 920 anyway :-)

"iPhone 5 is designed and built with a level of precision you'd expect of a Swiss watch, not a smartphone."

I didn't know Swiss watches were this bad

francescob said,
"iPhone 5 is designed and built with a level of precision you'd expect of a Swiss watch, not a smartphone."

I didn't know Swiss watches were this bad

swiss cheese?

francescob said,
"iPhone 5 is designed and built with a level of precision you'd expect of a Swiss watch, not a smartphone."

I didn't know Swiss watches were this bad


Well, did you had a swiss watch ?
Some are very bad.

That is why the Japanese watch makers took control of the watch market away from the Swiss...

francescob said,
"iPhone 5 is designed and built with a level of precision you'd expect of a Swiss watch, not a smartphone."

I didn't know Swiss watches were this bad

francescob said,
"iPhone 5 is designed and built with a level of precision you'd expect of a Swiss watch, not a smartphone."

I didn't know Swiss watches were this bad

Swiss watches are not considered as precise as other watches now days... it's just one of those sayings that doesn't go away due to their past precision