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A new report by The Information has revealed that Apple used to be clueless about the iPhone’s glass cover manufacturing process defect rate. As such, the company devised a plan that it pushed to its Chinese partners, Lens Technology and Biel Crystal, allowing it to see what’s really happening in the glass cover production it is spending its money on.
According to the report, it started in 2020 and comes in the form of QR codes etched into the glass of the iPhones. Through this, the Cupertino company can track the glass cover production of partners, specifically the number of units that are being produced and discarded due to defects.
“Lens and Biel have previously stymied Apple’s efforts to learn the true rate of defects, which can raise its production costs,” the report reads. “Apple has paid millions of dollars to install laser and scanning equipment at Lens and Biel factories to both add the microscopic QR code and scan the cover glass at the end of the production process.”
According to the report, the marks require special equipment in order for someone to view them since the first one is the “size of a grain of sand” while the other is “roughly the size of the tip of a crayon.” The outlet says they are laser-printed on the other side of the glass along the bezel and placed at different manufacturing phases.
The solution proves effective as the report claims that it has pressured the suppliers to reduce the glass cover discards. According to the report, out of 10 units, the companies used to throw away three. With the help of the new system, the number of discards per 10 units dropped to one, allowing the iPhone maker to “save hundreds of millions of dollars.”