Talking tech since 2003

This Friday, Apple fans lucky enough to get their pre-orders in should be receiving their brand new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets. But those record-setting pre-orders have brought a whole host of new challenges, as reports out of China indicate that manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the crazy high demand for Apple’s latest smartphone.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn is “operating about 100 production lines around the clock” to make both new models of the iPhone 6. The report cites a “person familiar with the matter,” who describes the situation at Foxconn’s plants thusly:

“We have been churning out 140,000 iPhone 6 Plus and 400,000 iPhone 6 every day, the highest daily output ever, but the volume is still not enough to meet the preorders. […] For iPhone 6 Plus, we are still ramping up the production line. Another reason for the limited supply is the shortage of 5.5-inch displays.”

Apparently the production of the larger displays has hit more than a few snags, with only 50 to 60 percent of the displays made passing quality control tests. “Display makers have to scrap almost half of the substandard output,” adds the report.

Meanwhile, production issues for Foxconn as a whole may have hit some other problems, with news hitting of an entire factory in Jundai, Brazil, going on strike. A post on 9to5Mac reports that 3,500 workers went on strike last Thursday, and while that site may not be involved in making the new iPhone 6 units, any kind of trouble at one of Foxconn’s factories will undoubtedly impact the output of others in one way or another.

And let’s not forget another crucial factor here: it’s entirely possible that the workers on these around-the-clock production lines are being pushed well past what’s healthy (or possibly even legal). Just last month, one of the major suppliers for Samsung, HEG Electronics, was called out for allegedly violating child labor laws. Foxconn has had various reports of similar kinds of troubles for years, making those of us who love our gadgets take a moment to realize the high costs of the technology we enjoy.

Let’s hope first and foremost that if Foxconn is pushing its factories hard to meet iPhone 6 demands, it’s doing so in a way that won’t jeopardize the health and well-being of those it employs.

[Sources: Wall Street Journal, 9to5Mac]

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