back to article Trundle, trundle, FLEEEP: iPhone 6 production grinds to halt

The production of Apple's iPhone 6 has reportedly hit a major snag after the redesign of a screen component caused a supply shortage. Pegatron, which builds iStuff for Apple, 'fessed up to the problem and admitted a key component was in short supply. "Currently, there's a small shortage in supply of a specialised component …

  1. Flatpackhamster


    There's nothing like keeping the iPhone 6 constant and energetically advertised through little snippety stories. So well done Apple's marketing department for leaking this to Reuters.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Ahh...

      You really think that anyone who has even the slightest chance of buying an iPhone 6 hasn't heard of it yet? Or that news stories about possible production problems function as advertising?

      I suppose you think the stories about Windows 8 being widely disliked were planted by Microsoft to gain more exposure for the product? Or maybe you've got the conspiracy theory meter cranked to 11, and think Windows 8 is a "New Coke" style feint, so they can go back to "Windows Classic" with the next release?

      1. VinceH

        Re: Ahh...

        "Or that news stories about possible production problems function as advertising?"

        Quite possibly, yes. News of a shortage could help ensure the true believers in Applanity fanbois are willing to queue up outside the Temples of Applanity Apple Stores days before the new Icon of True Faith shiny iThing is Rendered Unto the World of Men officially on sale.

        Apple have an over-hyped reputation to maintain, after all.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahh...

      "Currently, there's a small shortage in supply of a specialised component for our communication devices," said a spokesman.

      The missing piece was the "air of smugness" injected into every iPhone before the case is sealed.

  2. swschrad

    next they'll say there aren't enough Intertubes to use the phones on

    I think we have to have a miracle here. All pray to the great Steve that gave us the nonreplaceable battery...

  3. Slap

    Bored already

    Bored already with the reports about the next iPhone.

    It'll appear when it appears. End of.

    PS - I don't blame El Reg, Ars T etc - it's their job to report, but I'm just bored with the hype.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Bored already

      Agreed, it is pointless to regurgitate rumors about production problems. They happen every year, and it is frankly to be expected given how Apple pushes manufacturability to the limits each time around and the production volumes they're trying to achieve.

      Even without any glitches, they are always going running short at first due to people on the newest model, so it isn't even news.

  4. DougS Silver badge

    Famous El Reg clickbait

    El Reg headline says "production grinds to a halt", quoted source says "impact on production is negligible".

  5. Christopher Edwards

    Why does it have to be thin? What is this obsession? For the first time I understand what women must think of the fashion industry.

    Make it have a longer battery life, make it waterproof, make it so that it doesn't break when you drop it, make it so that it charges wirelessly, make the screen bright enough to read in the brightest sunshine, make the compass work without that roll the ball around routine. You could even add some new features. But don't make it thinner as a priority. It is adequately thin already.

    1. Don Jefe

      What people call 'market forces' are much like Democracy. The Proles have about 17.6 million priorities higher on their list than practicality, utility, value, etc... Unfortunately, the larger a market, or a Democracy, the more the voice of reason is drowned out by the mouth breathing sounds of the 'common man'. It also means you get stuck with the decisions of the Proles because it becomes more difficult to change anything in direct proportion to the size of the market (or Democracy). In short, there are too many stupid people. But there's nothing to be done for it.

      Less philosophically, every last bit of mobile communications and consumer IT has always been fashion driven, and it always will be. The professional side of those things are fashion driven too, but done from inside dank, windowless offices instead of the sides of bus stops and such. I blame Motorola.

      Lastly, there's no such thing in large scale manufacturing that's done by any single entity. The amount of logistics involved in making $.0009 surface mount capacitors alone is mind boggling. There are mines and trucks and ships and satellites and mills and foundries and laws, etc... that come after R&D is done. What I'm getting at, is that when an industry (any industry) starts moving in a given direction, it is extremely hard to change that direction. Once miniaturization became a primary goal there wasn't going to be any changing it for a long, long, long time.

      The ideas and inventions people came up with 10 years ago are still in the queue, waiting for their turn in the spotlight. The investments have been made and the people who made those investments aren't going to allow the market to change direction until they recoup their monies. This month we ship out a machine that will be used in mobile phone production. Total timeline from idea to reality has taken a little over four years, has a 15 year life expectancy and the client has paid a little over $40 million for the entire project. The machine performs vibration testing on assembled phones but capacity is 8x over the current equipment (but same footprint), all because 'thinner' was the direction the industry went. There are thousands of similar stories every day, so don't look for 'not thinner' to be a goal at any time soon.

    2. DougS Silver badge


      Some may think of "thin" as an unnecessary feature, others may feel it matters. Some may feel longer battery life or wireless charging is an unnecessary feature, others may feel they matter. Sure, an unbreakable screen or one that is readable in the brightest sunlight would be awesome, especially if it make it cost more, but there are vanishingly few models that the former is true on, and exactly ZERO that the latter is true on. Apple might be delivering on the former with sapphire, we'll have to wait and see. That would be something that would grab people's attention in a way that being more thin, having longer battery life, or minor improvements to the compass would not.

      Keep in mind, when a screen is made bigger the battery gets bigger "for free", so it is not surprising that Android phones have longer battery life as they have much larger screens these days. Sure, a larger screen requires more power, but a screen that's (for example) 30% larger allows a battery that is more than 30% larger (because the electronics inside the phone don't get any bigger) and the larger screen most certainly doesn't require 30% more power for the entire phone, just 30% more power for the screen.

      You can use that bigger battery for more battery life or to try to make the phone thinner and maintain the same battery life. CPUs improve with each generation in terms of power saving modes and higher performance (get things done more quickly so they can sleep more quickly) and wireless chipsets become more efficient. Remember the first generation LTE chipsets that sucked down battery to a ridiculous extent? No longer a problem. The early LTE-A chipsets reportedly do the same, but since LTE-A is implemented almost nowhere today or in the near future it is probably an unnecessary feature.

    3. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Making products for the lowest denominator

      Companies used to make products for specialist markets. For example a home computer required you to actually learn about how it works to some degree. Of course there were devices for people who didn't want to do that, those were games consoles or television sets.

      Today it costs more and more to develop and build a "smart"phone. So much that companies increasingly won't dare to experiment. Apple has brought out a "device" which was rather bad by the standards back then. Since Apple has developed a cult following with their iPod and since it didn't require you to think, it was successful. Being the only such device from Apple in a market where companies like Nokia had hundreds of models, also makes it look good on the sales rankings. Most of the competition being utter shit probably also helped.

      What companies don't do any more is to experiment and take bets. Nokia did that with their "Maemo" series. Despite of not being advertised and not having any GSM connectivity, those devices were very popular.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The usual shite from Jasper.

  7. prouton

    Time for an intervention

    It sounds to me like the iPhone is suffering from anorexia nervosa.

  8. Sureo

    So production runs in parallel with design? Small wonder they have problems.

    1. Don Jefe

      Why is that a problem? If you wait for design to be 100% before you start production you're losing years of time on the market. Manufacturing at scale does not support the notion of perfection. You go with what you've got and pump it out fast enough that you can cover any negative repercussions of initial problems.

      The days of robust pre-release R&D for consumer goods are gone forever. Industrial and scientific goods still have quite a bit of the traditional design process happening, but not stuff for consumers. There are upsides and downsides to that approach, but it most certainly makes things cost less. A lot less really. Plus there's much less chance of a single product killing off your entire operation if it sucks or the market shifts (see RIM/Blackberry).

  9. James 100

    Thinner, battery life

    I'd certainly be more attracted by a thicker iPhone with double the battery life - I suppose to some extent that demand is met by the "battery case" products, though, which add a second battery and some thickness to the handset. You can always *add* battery and thickness externally, but there's no way any add-on could make it thinner or lighter, so I suppose the ultra-thin route makes a bit more sense.

    I hope Samsung's achievement of IP67 for the S5 starts a trend. I have a LifeProof iPhone case at the moment, which is great for the most part but does seem to interfere with the touchscreen sometimes (phantom touches at the screen edge, in particular). A simple padded case for extra drop protection - so nothing to interfere with the screen - sounds like the ideal setup for me right now. (That and dual SIM support, which the S5 "Duos" has natively.)

  10. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    Yeah, personally, I would just make it large enough to hold a battery and two layers of LCD backlight.

  11. Tim99 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Stock market?

    This information has been available since June, and the problem was apparently sorted over a month ago. The stock is at its highest price ever. People who had a short stock position need the stock to be lower by the Friday NASDAQ close of business.

    A coincidence?

  12. Breen Whitman

    Dual layer backlit screens are so mainstream.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why don't

    Apple simply use an OLED backlight, these are much brighter than LEDs now and are about as thick as a sheet of Mylar used for the diffuser in conventional LCDs.

    1. Breen Whitman

      Re: Why don't

      Like a high end samsung phone? Makes sense I guess given the ipone 6 resembles a Samsung Galaxy s in nearly every way these days

  14. Rick Brasche

    cue the "scarcity"

    and the preorder hype in 3...2...1...

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