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Foxconn struggling with iPhone 6 demand, production lines operating 24/7

Despite Foxconn employing more than 200,000 workers at a single site that’s dedicated to assembling Apple’s new iPhones and some of its key components, it appears the tech manufacturer is struggling to cope with demand.

According to a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday, manufacturing two different-sized iPhones is turning out to be a particularly complicated process for Foxconn. Even though it has around 100 production lines operating 24 hours a day in Zhengzhou in north-central China, the Taiwan-based manufacturer is reportedly having trouble keeping up with demand.

Apple said it took 4 million pre-orders for the new iPhone last Friday, a company record for first-day sales. It’s not known how many more have been ordered in the five days since then, but it’s safe to say Foxconn’s workers won’t be resting up anytime soon.

On Apple’s US website, shipping for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus has slipped to 3-4 weeks, while customers who ordered the 4.7-inch alternative will have to wait at least 7-10 business days.

The longer wait for the 6 Plus doesn’t necessarily indicate that this model is the more popular of the two – plenty of reports prior to its launch suggested that certain technical issues meant it would be harder to produce, leading to supply constraints in the weeks and possibly months following its launch. In addition, the Journal’s source says a shortage of 5.5-inch displays is also impacting on production.

The source went on to explain that Foxconn is “churning out 140,000 iPhone 6 Plus and 400,000 iPhone 6 every day, the highest daily output ever,” adding that even this astonishing level of production “is still not enough to meet the pre-orders.”

The manufacturer is reportedly the sole maker of the iPhone 6 Plus, and is also assembling the majority of the 4.7-inch units. With the iPhone 5S and 5C models, which launched last year, production was split more equally between Foxconn and another company, Pegatron, reducing pressure on both suppliers.

This isn’t the first time Foxconn has faced issues with the iPhone. Two years ago, with the launch of the iPhone 5, CEO Terry Gou admitted his company was “falling short of meeting the huge demand.” Foxconn officials said at the time that the iPhone 5, which with its larger screen was also a new design, was “the most difficult device Foxconn has ever assembled.” Perhaps they’re currently looking at the iPhone 6 and thinking the same thing.

The manufacturer eventually got on top of the iPhone 5 challenges, and no doubt, in the coming months, it’ll deal with these current issues, too. Consumers hoping to get their hands on an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus soon, however, look as if they’ll need to exercise a little patience for now.