Apple not pleased with Foxconn's robots-at least for now

Apple not pleased with Foxconn's robots-at least for now
Is Foxconn planning on using robots to assemble a future generation of iPhones? Not yet, if Apple has its way. A report out of China says that robots that Foxconn has built for assembly work, are not precise enough for Apple's demands. While Apple requests a .02mm accuracy level for its devices, the robots can only hit a level of .05mm. In addition, robotic fingers are not as nimble as human fingers are. The bots are mostly being used now to tighten screws, and for other easy tasks.

The robots employed by the contract manufacturer can trace their ancestry back to auto assembly lines, which explains why they are not really perfectly suited for the production of today's mobile devices. And while a second generation of Foxbots is in the cards, it might be some time before they are ready to handle the kind of complex assembly that is required to build an Apple iPhone.

For the meantime, Apple is happy to offer you the iPhone made the way nature intended. That is, assembled by man, not a machine. Of course, once the Foxbots become more accomplished in a number of years, the cost savings and speed of assembly will have both Apple and Foxconn backpedaling as fast as possible from human assembly lines.

source: Jiemian (translated), GforGames via MacRumors

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32 Comments

1. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Apple .02mm clearance Samsung .02mm clearance or less HTC 2cm and its gapful design and rattling volume rockers. It's not marketing HTC.

3. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Uh huh. What are you refering to, the Nexus 9? Aside from that, nothing recently comes to mind about "gap" issues.

4. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Every device they have made since the HTC One X.

6. engineer-1701d unregistered

never had a problem with any htc device

7. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I had problems with every single HTC.

8. gaara6775

Posts: 738; Member since: May 20, 2014

Note 4 had gap issues ;)

9. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

That gap is on purpose and doesn't look horrible like the HTC ones.

10. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I don't know what to tell you. I've had the Droid Incredible (1&2), the Rezound, and had the Thunderbolt for a short while. I didn't have any issues with gaps or creaks or anything build quality related. Maybe I'm just lucky. Of course I also wasn't trying to find issues with my devices either, I just used the device. Besides those HTC devices, I've had a Galaxy S3, Toshiba Thrive 10, and Motorola X 2013, Moto 360, Droid Maxx, and Droid Turbo. All of my devices have been rock solid from the factory, and were near mint when I got through with them. The only one that's had any issues was the Galaxy S3, which by the end had screen burn in, battery about half the run time of what it started with, and couldn't connect to mobile data networks, only voice and WiFi. It's now my media player. The only devices I've had any major issues with are laptops. Had a Compaq and a Toshiba Qosmio that died before the one year mark. But my Asus G50VT, with Windows Vista Home Premium no less, is still going strong and is coming up on the 6 year mark.

22. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

No issue with HTC designs, just the horrible skins they put on them with their overlay software. HTC's work great for six months, then it's time for a warranty replacement.

25. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

You either are not looking or accept HTC standards of quality. Every single one of my HTC devices have had brutal polish. I even gave them chance after chance. I am, not talking about the occasional hick up but my last 9 or 10 HTC devices in a Row. Not a chance you hit 9 or 10 in a row without some major quality controlissyes or lazy manufacturing standards. 9 in a row.....enough said.

27. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Really? So because your experience was what it is, everyone else had to have that experience as well? So by that logic everyone who had a Qosmio laptop should've had them die in the first year as well. I check my devices for issues when I first take them out of the box. And if there is an issue, they go back before I use them. Please don't try to tell me your assumptions are more legitimate than what I saw with my own two f-ing eyes. I will say I may have gotten lucky, but I will not say that the ones I owned had issues when they didn't. I still have my OG Droid Incredible, and the only issue it had was the inlaid chrome HTC logo on the back plate peeled up when I cleaned it with a microfiber cloth, which was the case with any inlaid logo at that time. My DI2 had no issues until my nephew went to charge it and banned the connector in too hard and wrecked the charging port. I know because I watched him do it. The Thunderbolt went back due to excessive battery drain, which was common with first round LTE devices. And the Rezound never had any issues with it. No, 9 in a row isn't enough said. You're basing your conclusion on probability, I'm basing mine on actual experience. Now I wouldn't sit there and try to tell you that you didn't have those issues you experienced based on my experience, because I wasn't there either. I've had plenty of issues with Samsung devices, a smartphone, an HDTV, and a bluray player. I won't go back to them based on those experiences, but I won't try to pretend that my experiences are everyone else's. Actual experience beats out probability, enough said. And BTW, I no longer currently use HTC devices, only because the direction they went in wasn't the direction I wanted to continue with. I have no stake in the perception of HTC, but at the same time, I'm not going to change change my experiences with them either. Believe me or don't, I don't care. It is what happened whether you believe it or not.

32. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Yeah pretty much. It's called statistics. Statistics calculate for errors and if one person has 10 devices in a row with defects, that is almost statistically impossible .... Unless of course HTC is garbage. To go with anything else is frankly, crazy. Let's just say the average is 5000 defects in 5 million handsets sold. For me to stay in vancouver and hit two in a row of that 5000 every year they release a new handset for 4 devices in a row is crazy. Like bat s**t crazy. Unless of course HTC sucks and there are a lot more than 5000 defected devices. Any sane person would make that conclusion. I am not that freaking lucky or unlucky. That's crazier than me winning the lottery and getting hit by lightning twice. What do you want me to believe? You? I even went around looking at display models and most of them had the same defects. It's not a coincident. That is HTC for you. HTC is garbage and I am hundred percent convinced that it's them and not me.

33. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

As I said, I don't care if you believe me or not. You can quote statistics until you're blue in the face, it doesn't change my experience. And if you knew anything about statistics, you'd know that there are aberrations that statistics can't account for. Statistics aren't uniform, meaning that if they say 1 in 10 will have this problem, it doesn't mean that in every group of 10, 1 will have this problem. It means that averaged out, it comes out to one in 10. And the same goes for you. You're saying that almost every one of your HTC devices had an issue. So going by statistics, that isn't possible either. Either way, I experienced what I did. You come in and say, "No, you're wrong because statistics say this, disregard your first hand experience." Well, according to statistics, the same could be said to you. You do also realize that we haven't had the same models of HTC devices. Maybe you picked the ones that were prone to issues. Ever think of that?

34. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I had two One X, two 8x, two M7, one M8, and 2 Nexus 9. All flagships that SHOULD represent the best of HTC. Yes, for all I know their mid rangers and low ends could be fine but it isnt very encouraging or flattering if all their flagships are built like crap.

35. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

The OG Droid Incredible, Thunderbolt, and Rezound were all considered flagship devices. The Droid Incredible 2 could also be considered one as well, except for the TBolt being out that same year, but the LTE devices were considered a separate group that year on Verizon. But the thing to consider is, both of our experiences lie on opposite ends of the spectrum, extremes if you will. You are correct in that, statistically, it's unlikely that I could end up with that many devices that are flaw free. Just as it's also statistically improbable that you would end up with multiple models of the same device having different issues. Both scenarios are improbable, but not impossible. They are the exceptions that prove the rule. Statistically each of us should have one or two issues. I haven't had any, you had more than your share. But that averages out in the statistics. The difference is, after one or two, I moved onto to another manufacturer, as I did after my Galaxy S3. I know plenty of people who've had nothing but great luck with that phone, and Samsung as a whole. Whereas I and those in my family plan have had nothing but bad luck with them. Two people in my plan, each had the same model, and each had 3 of those same phone models fail on them before they called it quits with Samsung. One went to LG, the other to Motorola. I doubt we'll go back to them anytime soon, but at the same time I wouldn't call anyone a liar if they had nothing but good luck with them. I will share my experiences with them, and maybe caution them. But I would say with certainty that they will have the same experience we've had. It's luck of the draw, ain and simple. And that is the case with any company, in any industry. I've never had good luck with Ford cars, but I know plenty who have never had a problem. I've never had good luck with Sony audio equipment, they sound great but they always seem to have a short lifespan in my experiences. But I have friends who will only run Sony and have never had an issue with them. It's just hit and miss.

36. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I dunno. If I got the occasional perfect handset between the 9. I would agree that I was an outlier and that it was a coincidence. But sorry, 9 in a row is pretty damning and would convince me in a court room if HTC was sued for not having any quality control at all. The handsets you purchased were older handsets. Maybe the pinch of the economy has caused them to take more liberties and cut more corners. I mean most of their profits are going to Microsoft, Apple, and Nokia now. So they haven't cut somewhere. Looks like they cut in manufacturing.

38. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

The Rezound was out after the One X was. And as far as 9 bad phones being damning, the opposite is true of my experience. The difference is this. I'm saying that it's possible different people to both have multiple issues with separate models, and no issues with different models. You are saying it's possible for people to have multiple issues with separate models, but seem to think that people having no issues isn't possible. Yes, it could be that because my phones were made further in the past that they were having less issues. But the thing is, back then HTC was king of the Android hill, now they aren't. They probably sold as much back then as they are now, given that the amount of smartphone buyers has increased almost exponentially. To highlight this in the most basic terms, say there were 100 customers in the past and HTC had half of the market, or 50 customers. Now the total number has increased to 500 customers, but HTC has slipped to fourth and are still selling the same 50 phones. To be fair, it could also be the complexity of the devices has increased, or an increase in the complexity of the manufacturing process itself, or they just plain let their QC go to hell. We don't know for certain, and probably never will. But even back when I got my OG Droid Incredible, there people in the forums who had multiple issues with the same model. That's what happens with mass production, some problems are going to slip through the cracks. The point is, if what you're saying is to be taken as fact, do you really think a company where 9 out of 10 devices failing would even still be in business today? No, and the fact that they are tells me that either you were extremely unlucky or you picked devices that had higher failure rates than others. There are plenty of companies that are top tier companies, but release certain products that are just lemons. Porsche, Mercedes, Lexus, BMW, Audi are all considered the top of the heap in terms of the car industry, and all have had models that were just horrible. Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Sony have had some real stinkers as well. It's possible that you weren't just unlucky getting bad devices, blor that you were picking devices that were more failure prone. Ask anyone who had a Droid Bionic about that. I could've gone with the Bionic, but considering the issues they had with it, scrapping the original idea and transitioning to a completely different device, all in a 4 month period, spelled trouble. But people bought them, and had a bad experience because of it. Yes, Motorola was at fault for rushing the issue, but they were under contract for a device, so they couldn't just scrap it. OTOH, people should've realized that the rush job would mean issues with the quality control. At the very least, wait until the reviews came in before jumping on it. But because they dove right in, they got burned and some now view anything that comes out of Motorola as a failure before they even see it in person.

30. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Yeah...I see quite a few HTC DNA's weekly with bad SIM readers and frozen interfaces that don't have the ability to be reset easily thanks to a built-in battery and the lack of a quality workaround. HTC is junk, a reason why they are hanging around on a thread. Moving on...

37. Muayyad

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

There was an update to fix that issue. One of my family has this phone with no issues after the update.

16. tedkord

Posts: 17043; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

No, it had a design that haters tried to turn into an issue.

39. lebigmac506

Posts: 56; Member since: Sep 17, 2014

My EVO3D and Amaze were very solidly built phones. HTC should've supported the phones longer.

5. engineer-1701d unregistered

robotic fingers are not as nimble as human fingers are. they mean children s fingers

2. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

"I don't care if you're tired Liang, the robots aren't precise enough. Keep soldering!"

12. dimas

Posts: 3235; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

"But Liang is tired sir, I haven't seen my wife since Chinese Labor day. And I'm about to puke just by looking at these iPhones 24/7."

11. dimas

Posts: 3235; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Robotics have improved for the last 30 years.With the demand for apple, they'll be needing more than just whipping the chinese factory workers. I'm sure foxconn know what it's doing after apple made practical joke on them with the sapphire display.

17. kurama.

Posts: 85; Member since: Sep 13, 2014

Maybe apple should concentrate more on the next iphone won't bend than making stupid demands.

23. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Concentrate on renovating your outhouse, Kuramo...

18. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

This is great news for the workers if apple manages to stop the use of robots, if they don't thousands of people will loose their jobs and many more in the future.

24. rubertus

Posts: 57; Member since: Oct 07, 2014

Human slavery is still the quickest way to build a phone, the multinationals won't replace cheap, quick labor for slow machines. It's a sad reality but the profit of shareholders comes before the well being of every worker. I wish we could have made the change long ago, but the greed always talks louder.

29. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

Be thankful.. you get to keep your job.

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