The iPhone 5’s well-documented cosmetic damage issues, dubbed "scuffgate" in some quarters, is having a knock-on effect on production of the Apple smartphone. New quality control measures are hampering the manufacturing process, according to reports.
It’s being reported by Bloomberg that far more iPhone 5s should have been manufactured - and thus sold - by now. According to “a person familiar with the matter,” Apple managers have told Foxconn executives to tighten productions standards.
The stricter benchmark tests that are being implemented as a result are slowing production of the iPhone 5’s aluminium housing.
It’s this choice of aluminium for the iPhone 5's body that is causing the issues in the first place. While the material is both light and structurally strong, it is far more susceptible to surface damage like nicks and scratches than other commonly used smartphone materials.
This has led to many new iPhone 5 owners complaining that their handsets appear damaged straight out of the box, suggesting that the scuffs were sustained during the production process in China.
Foxconn has apparently had to render some of its factories idle while intensive new quality control measures are carried out. This has heightened supply concerns, and has cost Apple an estimated $60 billion in market value since the iPhone 5 launched on September 21.
Certain analysts have cut iPhone 5 sales projections from 57 million to 49 million as a result of these issues.
Of course, Apple's scuffgate-related problems don't end there. Even with these renewed quality control measures, the iPhone 5 will likely retain the issue of being easy to damage. If it gains a reputation for this over the next year, it could cost Apple even more sales.