In keeping with tradition, Apple’s (AAPL) new iPhone 5 and iOS 6 software launched alongside a series of “gates.” First we had “Wifigate” when iOS devices around the world failed to connect to Wi-Fi networks due to a downed page on Apple.com, and then “Mapsgate” swept the tech world. The most serious issue yet may be “Scuffgate,” however, because unlike software issues that can be fixed over time, scratches and scuffs in the iPhone’s anodized aluminum coating that mar handsets before they even reach consumers’ hands cannot be fixed. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple has acknowledged the issue and is taking steps with manufacturing partner Foxconn to ensure that iPhone 5 handsets are not scratched during shipping.
Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reports that Apple has made dramatic changes to quality control measures taken by factory workers assembling the iPhone 5 in Foxconn’s facilities. While the result should be far fewer devices arriving with nicks and scuffs out of the box, the measures have also reportedly impacted production yield, tightening supply and making the new iPhone even more difficult to find.
Apple sold more than 5 million iPhone 5 handsets during the device’s first weekend of availability, making it the fastest-selling smartphone of all time. Analysts were expecting several million more iPhones to be sold during the smartphone’s debut weekend though, and ongoing supply constraints have caused Apple’s stock price to plummet in the weeks since the new iPhone launched. Shares of Apple stock closed at $635.85, down from a record high of $705.07 achieved on September 21st, the day the iPhone 5 launched.