back to article Report: Apple returned 8M shoddy iPhones to Foxconn

Foxconn has apparently botched a batch of iPhones, which Apple returned to the contract manufacturer because they were not fit for sale. Details of just what went wrong are sketchy, as the source for this tale is an anonymous Foxconn staffer chatting to China Business. That report, after being forced through a couple of …

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  1. Allan Thomas

    Foxconn takes 16bn hit?

    Ummm, 8 million x $200 = 1.6 billion.

    Unless the phones are $2,000 a pop or it was 80 million phones replaced then it would be $16bn.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Reality Distortion Field again

      x10 happens

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shows

      Apple take product quality seriously, other manufacturers could learn something here about not sending out a substandard product.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shows

        "Apple take product quality seriously, other manufacturers could learn something here about not sending out a substandard product."

        1) Other manufacturers like Foxconn? Didn't Foxconn send the substandard product out?

        2) When did Apple become a "manufacturer" again?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Shows

          2) When did Apple become a "manufacturer" again?

          Pretty much everyone uses third party's to produce components and build them.

          Once bought a JVC telly (shudder) it went wrong within weeks and after the repair man told me the one I had was licensed by JVC but had components from Eastern Europe in it, it went back.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Shows

            "Pretty much everyone uses third party's to produce components and build them."

            Which also means that they are no longer a manufacturer.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Shows

          @AC, Apple is becoming a manufacturer again by assembling the 'new Mac Pro' in the US. :-)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Shows

            @SP,

            Try again. The plant will be a Foxconn plant.

        3. Joe Gurman

          Re: Shows

          Apple does manufacture some of its own desktop kit in the US, but no phones as far as I know.

          1. kain preacher Silver badge

            Re: Shows

            They refurbish iphones .

      2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Shows

        Apple take product quality seriously, other manufacturers could learn something here about not sending out a substandard product.

        Yes and no. Good points for sending back substandard gear, bad marks for not spotting a production going off its quality bell curve before so many units were manufactured: it seems to suggest Apple is quite a distance from the production quality control, which has resulted in a substantial supply chain hit.

        1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Shows

          The real issue is whether the phones were rejected for cosmetic reasons or functional reasons. If cosmetic, then the bulk of the units can be recycled as is and new shells substituted for the old. If the rejections were due to the units being non-functional, then how much the rework, if they can be reworked at all, is a lot more complicated.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Shows

          Isn't the whole point of going overseas to decouple yourself from Production QA and make Foxconn pay for it?

        3. asdf Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Shows

          > it seems to suggest Apple is quite a distance from the production quality control, which has resulted in a substantial supply chain hit.

          Welcome to doing business in China. Yes its cheap but transparency not so much.

        4. aslwin

          Re: Shows

          My had mal-function Iphone 4 (only 6 months old), but Apple would not want to look at it because it was opened by non-Apple person (void the warrant). What if this phone is one of this bad phone from Foxconn....

        5. Apple and Others

          Re: Shows

          Its not true. They just dump this crap in places like India... most companies do that. You can find a stark difference in quality and reliability of products not wanted on western shelves being dumped on to ill-informed buyers thru "attractive schemes and promos".

        6. cortland

          Re: Shows

          Some 20+ years ago, a firm in whose R&D department I worked entered the *really cheap* consumer electronics business. I passed one of those stores on my daily commute, so when I saw a pyramid of color televisions discounted 75%, I had to ask what was going on.

          The manager pointed to the sign: AS IS. It seems the Chinese manufacturer was not testing them to see if they worked, and when the US retailer complained, told them they were cheap; throw the bad ones away and try again. It was a simpler time...

          I won't mention the name of that (defunct) chain, but see below:

          " ... Lay on, [_______],

          And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!' "

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Shows

            cortland wrote:

            I won't mention the name of that (defunct) chain, but see below:

            " ... Lay on, [_______],

            And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!' "

            Nope, your clue, if that is what it is, doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

      3. Khaptain Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Shows

        Quote : Apple take product quality seriously, other manufacturers could learn something here about not sending out a substandard product.

        Of course they do, it's just that you are holding it wrong....

      4. Roderick

        Re: Shows

        Considering the number of failed post productions units rejected it suggests that there is no Q.A process present which in turn suggests that they are not serious about Quality at all. If they did there would be quality process's in place to stop the release of this many sub standard products.

        1. MrXavia

          Re: Shows

          And 8 Million of them makes it sound to me that a specific failure was found, and needs fixing, but should also have been picked up early in the QA process...

          1. g e
            Joke

            Re: Shows

            @MrXavia -

            Maybe they were QA'ing it the wrong way ;o)

        2. cortland

          Re: Shows

          Bingo!

      5. g e
        Facepalm

        Re: Shows

        @AC (they're all AC when it's an Apple post these days it seems?)

        "not sending out a substandard product"

        Maps. Not even substandard, actually unfit for purpose.

        1. chadbag

          Re: Shows

          I am getting tired of this bashing of Apple Maps. I've had more problems with Google Maps giving incorrect routes than any problems I have had with Apple Maps. And I've used both a lot since the time that Apple Maps has come out. I have had 0 incorrect routes with Apple Maps. I did have one where the endpoint was slightly off -- the store I was looking for was in a corner that had an offramp of the freeway on the bottom side of the lot, and the main road on the left side, and Apple Maps decided I was there while I was abutting the property on the offramp instead of while abutting the property on the main street. Google Maps has, on the other hand, tried to send me down non existent roads a few times, but where Apple Maps had it right.

          Most of the problems with Apple Maps was with the 3D rendering, which could be awful, but was a feature that Google Maps that it replaced did not even have. And there were a bunch of isolated cases of geographic features or locations (town or crossroad or whatever) being placed incorrectly in their data feed, which translated to bad data on their map. That was a problem, but was one that Google Maps has suffered with as well. And it was pretty isolated. I've yet to encounter it personally and only know it from the humorous examples listed on the internet.

          I've used Apple Maps for all sorts of navigation purposes, and it has always gotten me there safe and sound, and the one time I mentioned above, I could see the store when it said I was there so it was not an issue, even if not 100% correct.

          1. asdf Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Shows

            >I am getting tired of this bashing of Apple Maps.

            When the first sentence starts like that you know you don't have to read the rest of the what look like long boring post (wouldn't know didn't read lol).

      6. big_D Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Shows

        Apple could learn a lot from others as well.

        Here, in Germany, it is still a case of dud iPhones being picked up and returned 2 weeks later, hopefully, fixed. Other manufacturers deliver a replacement device, when the pick up the dud.

        We've also had 7 or 8 defect iPhones delivered to us over the last couple of years. Always either Bluetooth and Wifi doesn't work, or the battery won't hold a charge...

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shows

        Apple take product quality seriously

        alternatively ... sales are lower than expected (n.b. this probably means haven't grown as much as expected) so Apple are looking to avoid having excess inventory around for when they annouce their next point upgrade

      8. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Shows

        Apple take product quality seriously, other manufacturers could learn something here about not sending out a substandard product.

        1) I have never seen a non-Apple phone with a shattered screen, but plenty of iPhones suffer this fate

        2) They don't have a great track record in aerial design now, do they?

        3) or mapping software, come to think of it.

        Before you hold someone up as a paragon of product quality, it doesn't hurt to engage your brain first.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Shows @Loayal Commenter

          We've had to get both iPhone and non-iPhone smartphone displays replaced, because they have been dropped and shattered.

        2. LarsG
          Meh

          Re: Shows@ loyal commenter

          I think the point is being made about the phone construction not the software that can be rectified.

          If you go down that route then consider the number of malware apps available to android and consider the number of patches and updates on android.

          Then consider how the patches and updates dry up with the introduction of a new Android phone.

          As to broken screen, it happens to all phones and the aerial design was fixed in a fashion and sorted in the next incarnation, that's called development.

          I agree with you on the mapping software, it is still sh*t but the guy who was responsible has gone. Anyway google maps is available as an app so that pretty much sorts that out.

        3. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Shows

          > I have never seen a non-Apple phone with a shattered screen

          Not to defend Apple but this means one of two things.

          1. You have either never owned a non Apple smartphone

          2. If you did you didn't have a 2 yo in the house. Otterbox business model depends on little ones.

        4. chadbag

          Re: Shows

          I've seen lots of non-Apple phones with shattered screens. In fact, last night, at a football (soccer) game we were at, the lady sitting in front of me had a Galaxy 3 and it had a big impact shatter point in the upper left quadrant. And I saw a couple Android based phones at church the other day with similarly cracked screen from some sort of fall or impact. To be fair, I've seen a couple iPhone 4/4S recently that had similar impact point cracks or dropped phone cracks on the screens. All, both iPhone and Android-based phones [most likely Samsungs since Samsung is the largest Android vendor but I did not see what the phone model was in some cases] usually all use the same sort of glass, Gorilla Glass, and all suffer from similar issues when impacted or possibly dropped.

          Luckily for me, despite repeated drops, non of my iPhones (original, 3GS, 4, 4S, or 5, or wife's 4 or 5) or iPads (original, 3, mini) have suffered any cracked or broken glass. The original iPad was dropped on its corner once, and there is a noticeable bend in the device casing on the corner, but the glass did not crack at all and the iPad does function 100% still.

      9. Ian Johnston Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Shows

        <cough>Apple maps<cough>

    3. GettinSadda
      Boffin

      Re: Foxconn takes 16bn hit?

      The article is now corrected, but even so it won't be a $1.6bn hit.

      Whatever is wrong with those phones it won't be every component that is faulty. 8 million items is enough to set up a workshop to replace the faulty parts with new ones and return the fixed items to Apple.

    4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Foxconn takes 16bn hit?

      More likely 8 million x replacement of $5 faulty part in $200 phone = $40m, as I seriously doubt they'd write off all those handsets.

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Turtle

      @Zola: Re: Maybe it's a missing decimal point, which is easily done...

      Well, many people mistake a "spell-checker" for a "proof-reader". I'm among them, I have to admit...

  3. Big-nosed Pengie
    Devil

    How long before they're on sale on ebay for $400 each?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If they can replace the case with something less apple-design-patented, and flash something generic over the iOS, they may well resurface down the line.

  4. Tom 35 Silver badge

    quality control?

    How could you keep producing duds for that long without noticing? You would think they would pull random samples for testing and notice any fault long before they piled up millions of duds.

    1. csumpi
      Holmes

      Re: quality control?

      My thoughts exactly. If Apple didn't keep an eye on the production and truly let 8 million rejects made, they deserve to eat most of the cost.

      1. Paw Bokenfohr

        Re: quality control?

        "If Apple didn't keep an eye on the production and truly let 8 million rejects made, they deserve to eat most of the cost."

        ...but why? That would be like me being to blame for buying 10 Blackberrys to distribute to people at work, and one of them being faulty. I have a right to the expectation that what I buy will be as promised, just as Apple did here from the business that it buys the phones from and if not, to have them replaced with ones that are right.

        I'm sure that there is a set acceptable failure rate in the contract, and Foxconn have obviously exceeded that, if this story is accurate, since it's all based on rumour.

    2. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Re: quality control?

      My guess is it was something that surfaced when Apple tested beta loads of v6.2 of iOS.

  5. csumpi
    Paris Hilton

    Why the negativity?

    Can't we just look at this from a positive angle? Why not use this headline:

    "Large Asian corporate buyer purchases batch of 8 million iPhones."

    Throw some iPads in there and fingers crossed that would even prop up the AAPL stock a bit so I could dump it.

  6. Paul J Turner

    Porno Perverts eh?

    from - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/18/apple_china_obscene/

    “Apple really has to work hard on government relations.”

    Oh, I think the Chinese have just got the message alright.

  7. Rentaguru

    Annoying innit

    When they put the decimal point in and your comment is then pointless!

  8. bazza Silver badge

    Don't Beggar Thy Supplier

    Apple might have to be a bit careful. $1.6billion is a lot of money, even for Foxconn. Apple would seem to be playing hard ball, but they can't do that too much. A contract won't count for much if Foxconn ever decides that working for Apple isn't worth the hassle, especially in China...

    1. Snake
      Thumb Up

      Re: Don't Beggar Thy Supplier

      BINGO!! I wondered if at least ONE person here would realize this.

      Foxconn is a contract supplier. If the contract no longer meets a benefit vs cost ratio, any sane contractor will reexamine the cost of doing business with the customer and say "No, thank you!" to the next contract. Foxconn may not do this in its entirety but, considering the well documented difficulties with manufacture of the iPhone5's design and final finish requirements, don't be surprised if Foxconn decided to have much more say in the next iPhone design: "We can not manufacture that design to your satisfaction, so we won't. Redo the design so that we can actually built it".

      As a manufacturer, I / we have certainly said "No, thank you!" to repeatedly difficult clients. After a while the benefit vs cost is simply not worth it; we have indeed used the line 'We can not manufacture this design to your satisfaction, so we won't' several times in the past.

  9. Bob Vistakin
    Facepalm

    Someone noticed it was a batch that had not really changed much in 5 years?

    Oh, wait...

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