Apple has sent back millions of defective iPhones to its main manufacturing partner, it has emerged, in a sign of the strain that huge demand for handsets puts on the tech giant’s supply chain.
According to an unnamed source cited by China Business, Apple returned between five million and eight million handsets to Chinese factory-operator Foxconn for reasons that remain more than a little opaque.
However, the Chinglish-sounding translation makes mention of “appearance of substandard or dysfunctional problems”, which we’re guessing means there were issues with the phone’s exterior as well as glitches with functionality.
It’s thought that the returns and the cost of replacement phones will see Foxconn write down around $1.6 billion.
Interestingly, China Business’ source doesn’t mention what kind of timescale over which the handsets were returned, making it hard to gauge the scale of the problem.
We’re also left in the dark over which model or models were affected and how many phones made it to consumers’ hands before faults were discovered.
News of problems at Foxconn follow reports that the company is currently hiring a staggering 10,000 staff per week, ahead of a glut of new iProducts later this year.
Among the kits expected to land in the next nine months are an iPad mini 2, an iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S budget model, as well as Apple’s first-ever iWatch.