Why Assembling iPhones Requires 12 Times More Workers than Android Phones

Patrick Devaney
Jan 24, 2023
Apple
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They say that Apple products are ridiculously overpriced. When you compare the prices to other competing products such as some Android phones and cheap Windows laptops this may seem to be true. However, a new report seems to indicate that the augmented pricing that comes with Apple products could be linked to something rather fundamental, quality control.

Apple Foxconn

According to a new Bloomberg report, the iPhone production lines at Foxconn require 1,200 workers each while some of the Android production lines at the company require only 100 workers. The differentiating factor here is the quality control standards that Apple pushes Foxconn to apply to the iPhones it is producing. In fact, rather startlingly, according to 9to5Mac, sometimes as few as 60% of the iPhones being produced will actually pass the standards test Apple places upon them.

A key caveat here is that this difference in standards is not a universal metric that applies to all Android phones. Rather, it applies to some of the Android phones that Foxconn produces. As well as producing iPhones, Foxconn also produces some Chinese Android brands, which don’t employ such rigorous quality control standards as Apple does with the iPhone. What’s worth noting here is that it is the brand that sets the quality control standards rather than the factory so in essence the comparison here is between Apple and other lesser-known Chinese smartphone manufacturers.

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The Bloomberg report follows a change of CEO at Foxconn following the recent unstable environment in China causing disruptions to Foxconn’s supply lines. Interestingly then, while the quality control standards may be different, both these lesser-known Chinese smartphone manufacturers and Apple still have to deal with the same logistical realities. This could represent a strategic weakness for Apple moving forward particularly with tensions raising between China and Taiwan for example.

In conclusion then, while it may appear that Apple products are overpriced when compared to other competing products, it seems that the augmented pricing could be linked to the rigorous quality control standards that Apple holds its suppliers to. This is because iPhones require 12 times as many workers on its production lines than some Android phones.

To check out the leaked specs of upcoming Android phones, read our report on the charging options of the OnePlus 11 and our look at the ridiculous camera that should come with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

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Why Assembling iPhones Requires 12 Times More Workers than Android Phones
Article Name
Why Assembling iPhones Requires 12 Times More Workers than Android Phones
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A new report has shed some light on the different levels of quality control standards applied to different smartphones and the effects they have on production lines.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. DAVIN P PETERSON said on January 24, 2023 at 2:16 pm
    Reply

    There are some cheap Android phones (under $150) that are cheaply built. They also have less features. I wouldn’t buy an Android phone from an unknown/no-name manufacturer.

    1. Avigdor said on January 24, 2023 at 2:54 pm
      Reply

      Good. Now buy a phone for >1000 USD.

  2. Service Pack said on January 24, 2023 at 2:25 pm
    Reply

    For non-Apple device, I would go with Xiaomi and Huawei [when it still has Google services] and Samsung…

  3. Someone said on January 24, 2023 at 4:08 pm
    Reply

    Samsung is the best, and also Xiaomi is the winner here.

    1. John G. said on January 24, 2023 at 5:17 pm
      Reply

      Apple is the best with the widest difference. My aunt bought an Iphone 4s in 2012 and it worked like a charm till 2020. Eight years of hard efforts in a mountain village with -15C° in winter. And she got 4 major IOS upgrades with no performance loss. Anyway Samsumg is a very good smartphone manufacturer with cheap and expensive devices. When I go to the forest to study the plants and trees I catch my A53 5G with 5000 mAH of battery (almost 2.5 days with no problem). However, all but chinese phones, after two years all are crap.

      1. Someone said on January 24, 2023 at 9:11 pm
        Reply

        I agree at some point, but xiamomi is good also at camera photos/videos, I know it from my brother what has an 2018 xiaomi, and is really good.

      2. John G. said on January 24, 2023 at 9:53 pm
        Reply

        > I agree at some point, but xiamomi is good also at camera photos/videos, I know it from my brother what has an 2018 xiaomi, and is really good.

        Near five years of use, not bat at all this Xiaomi!

    2. StudentLoanDebt said on January 24, 2023 at 10:47 pm
      Reply

      Samsung used to give me a lot of problems, but never again. Over Samsung, I would pick Pixel.

      But I extended the life of my OnePlus 5T by an additional five years. My most recent upgrade was to Android 13. I have no reason to change my phone to the most recent piece of rubbish with the gaping hole in the center of the screen. In the past five years, I haven’t been interested in any new phones.

  4. John G. said on January 24, 2023 at 5:27 pm
    Reply

    Thanks @Patrick for the article.

  5. Paul(us) said on January 24, 2023 at 6:31 pm
    Reply

    Apple (Steve Jobs and others) has had its stuff built by child labor in china and elsewhere for more than 20 years.

    Time after time Apple promises to do something about it now for almost two decennia but Apple continues to do nothing about it.

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2016/06/drc-cobalt-child-labour/

    https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-knowingly-used-child-labor-supplier-3-years-cut-costs-2020-12?international=true&r=US&IR=T

  6. Anonymous said on January 24, 2023 at 8:25 pm
    Reply

    I believe the assumption that quality can be determined from the amount of workers required to manufacture a quality part, is the wrong assumption.
    Quality comes from good design which has to include ease of manufacturing. Design that uses the right materials, manufacturing controls in place that yield quality subparts, automation, trained workers that care about their work.
    Throwing more workers at a problem to improve quality is a waste of workers and money. The more human hands that are involved the greater the chance of human error.
    Speaking from over 40 years of experience in this space

    1. Jojo said on January 25, 2023 at 8:29 am
      Reply

      Exactly my thought. The author seems to equate quality with complexity of assembly.

      China uses huge numbers of workers to act as a factory assembly line because workers are relatively cheap.

      I can’t believe that a cell phone, which is essentially a commodity device, couldn’t be designed out of about 10 pieces that could be snapped together on an automated assembly line at the rate of 1 every 20 seconds or so.

      Something doesn’t add up with this report.

  7. Trey said on January 24, 2023 at 9:37 pm
    Reply

    I could believe the Apples production line requires more workers, but 12x the amount of workers? This is hard to believe.

    1. Anonymous said on January 25, 2023 at 2:23 am
      Reply

      Why conclude that Apple devices only appear overpriced when you admit the comparison is between iphones and small Chinese brands? How can we conclude anything without knowing what phones we are comparing to, or without including premium Android phones? For all I know Apple is using lower paid workers or inefficient designs.

    2. John G. said on January 25, 2023 at 8:16 pm
      Reply

      I agree, it’s difficult to stablish why x12 more workers may give x12 higher quality products. Probably there are other variables not considered seriously enough. Or perhaps it does. I admit that x12 is a very high number (e.g. 1000 workers vs 12.000 workers).

  8. Someone said on January 25, 2023 at 8:24 pm
    Reply

    They require 12x more workers because they need 12x more product. That’s pretty much the only reason. Even the most popular Android manufacturer like Samsung has multiple lines for their varying product lines), each requiring their own line. Seems like a surreptitious ad piece or something to get the hits. I’ll be unsubscribing to this now either way, as both reasons aren’t acceptable

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