Here’s Why the iPhone 5 is Giving Apple Headaches

Hon Hai Precision, the sole producer of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPhone 5, has said the device saw a shortage in supply because it was extremely hard to manufacture. An executive of the company also told The Wall Street Journal that some of the recent conflicts at one of its facilities may have been sparked by the increased quality checks during the manufacturing process of the new device.

Hon Hai is part of the Taiwan-based Foxconn Group, with factories across China that produce several Apple products. While the latest iPhone started out with record-breaking sales, its sales numbers have disappointed several analysts, who are worried that the shortage in supply may hurt Apple.

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“The iPhone 5 is the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled,” said the official, who declined to be named. “To make it light and thin, the design is very complicated. It takes time to learn how to make this new device. Practice makes perfect. Our productivity has been improving day by day.”

The executive also noted that the iPhone 5 used a new coating that made it easier to scratch the device’s body, prompting the manufacturing company to take extra precautions after several consumers complained of marks on newly shipped phones. New quality-control procedures had been introduced, the executive said, but added that it was “always hard to satisfy both aesthetic needs and practical needs.” The stricter checks and other “quality issues” may have caused the recent conflict between assembly line workers and quality inspectors at its Zhengzhou site, the official admitted, though he declined to elaborate.

“The Zhengzhou site, which was set up in 2011, is still pretty new to us. We are still learning how to manage the work force there,” the executive said.

The official added that Hon Hai was increasing hiring in Zhengzhou to boost its production capacity for Apple and other customers.

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