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A Rare Look At Apple’s Quality Control Process

A Rare Look At Apple’s Quality Control Process

September 27, 2012
Imagine turning on your new iPhone 5 and finding a photo on the camera roll. Now imagine that photo contained quality control information straight from a factory in China. This happened to one iPhone 5 buyer, according to AppleInsider. We’ve always known that Apple employs a stringent quality control process for their products. However, we rarely see this in actual practice. In this case, we have. AppleInsider reader Brent reports that he found the photo shown below on his new iPhone when it arrived directly from China on Wednesday. It includes a QR code and the Chinese symbol "停" or "ting," meaning stop or halt. A scan of the code revealed a string of numbers and letters that included the iOS device’s model number, IMEI, serial number, and nano-SIM number.
At the end of the contiguous character string was an unknown "65%" designation which appears to relate to the "65% Fail/不良" line highlighted in red. Just above the percentage are the characters "LL/A," most likely referring to the last three identifying digits of the iPhone 5's MD63XLL/A order number.
When contacting Apple over the meaning of this photo, Brent was told to “delete the picture and don’t worry about it” by a senior staff member. Luckily, despite what appears to be a failed quality control test, Brent’s new iPhone is working fine. What I found interesting here wasn’t the failed test, although I will admit that would concern me. Rather, I am amazed at how much information Apple ultimately has about the iOS devices we buy. By tracking each device’s serial number from production, to shipment, and ultimately to the customer, Apple is able do a number of things that benefit all of us. This includes offering more personalized customer support, accessing which parts work and don’t work over time, and use this information to make better products going forward. In Brent's case, Apple could use the information contained in the QR code to troubleshoot possible problems with the iPhone in the future. What Apple is doing isn’t revolutionary, as other successful companies almost certainly use similar processes. But for Apple customers, it is nice to know nonetheless. For further reading, see Maybe Third Party Lightning Cables Are Possible and There Are Two Reasons You Might Not Find The iPhone 5 In Stores. Source: AppleInsider Photo: The Washington Post  

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