Flaw on iPhone 5 Could Impact Availability: Not Another Saga?

Flaw on iPhone 5 Could Impact Availability: Not Another Saga?

Apple iPhone 5 rumors keep flooding in and just in the last couple of days we’ve told about a possible release date, indications that the success of the iPhone will be huge and earlier today discussed the iPhone 5 price. However if new reports are accurate it seems the initial shipments of iPhone 5’s may be affected by shortages because of a defect.

Once again the source of the rumor is Digitimes, a Taiwanese newspaper that has a mixed record of accuracy with Apple product news, although sometimes has pinpointed a story completely accurately. According to Digitimes, Apple supplier Wintek has spoken of a defect, which they refer to as a “delayed bubble,” on the touch panels. Zach Epstein over on BGR tells how this ‘bubble’ can form between the panel and lamination layer but is not apparent straight away. If this is true then literally millions of potential iPhone 5 customers may be frustrated, either at the depletion of initial shipments, or receiving a faulty handset.

It wouldn’t be the first time Apple has hit production problems and we only have to look back to the iPhone 4 ‘antennagate’ situation to realize that. Then of course there was the long wait for the white iPhone 4 that disillusioned many that were left holding on for months. Although Digitimes has apparently contacted Wintek for a statement it has not been forthcoming although the company did say that deliveries were on schedule. As Wintek is estimated to be supplying around a quarter of iPhone 5 display panels, a serious defect could really impact the availability of the iPhone 5 at launch, always a problem even without a defect.

Over on Apple Insider, Josh Ong also looks into the Digitimes report and notes that the defect is said to be “difficult to avoid” particularly if not detected in the early processes. However the sources also say, “Since the manufacturing process of touch panels used in iPhone 5 is of the same as that for iPhone 4, Wintek is expected to remedy the defect quickly.” Apple Insider also notes that iOS 5 has a rumored release date of October 10 which would fit in with our estimation of a mid-October release after a rumored product event on October 4.

There are also mixed reports of two versions of the iPhone coming, a low-cost 4S and an iPhone 5 although this speculation seems to change virtually by the minute. However if we cast our minds back to our article of September 16 it gets rather interesting. We told then of the rumors of two iPhones on the way and of reports saying that millions of iPhone 4S’s were rolling off the production lines. However we also told of the iPhone 5 and unverified reports that there was some sort of production issue that could mean a delay, even to 2012. We certainly hope that today’s news isn’t tied to this and would mean really serious delays in the arrival of the iPhone 5.

We’d like to hear your comments on this latest news. After the debacle of ‘antennagate’ last year and then problems with the white iPhone 4, Apple could certainly do without another saga for the critics to get their teeth into. Let us have your comments on this.

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