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Scratched aluminum could be at the heart of the iPhone 5 supply shortage

If you’ve had your iPhone 5 since launch day and have dared to use it without a case, then you’ve certainly noticed how easily this anodized aluminum picks up unsightly scratches… Turns out, this very same issue might be causing constraint on Apple’s supply of the new device. New reports indicate that quality control at Foxconn has led to production limitations which have hurt Apple’s stock price in the week’s since the iPhone 5 has been available.

Could it be that this issue is also connected to those riots that recently occurred? Word is workers at Foxconn were unhappy with certain quality standards that were being imposed, and though it’s still speculation at this point, it seems likely that these quality standards could relate to the need for cutting back on the number of scratched devices leaving Foxconn’s factory… From Bloomberg’s recent article on the matter:

“Stricter benchmarks have hampered production of the iPhone 5’s anodized aluminum housings, forcing Foxconn’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (2317) to idle factories… The slowdown is heightening supply concerns that have cost Apple about $60 billion in market value since the iPhone debut—a shortcoming of the drive to imbue products with qualities that make them alluring yet more difficult to manufacture.”

And that brings us to this question: If the anodized aluminum is really causing all this trouble, was it worth it?! It looks cool and allows the device to be thinner and lighter, but with scratching and manufacturing issues hanging over the iPhone 5’s early days, at this point it’s tough to say if Apple chose wisely when departing from the design scheme of the iPhone 4.

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