A recent report from The Information reveals that Apple has been etching tiny QR codes onto iPhone displays as a way to track the number of defective screens discarded by suppliers. These QR codes come in two forms: one is the size of a grain of sand and can only be viewed with special equipment, while the other is located on the inside of the display along the bezel. Apple has invested millions of dollars in developing this barcode process and has installed laser scanning equipment at two manufacturing facilities. By implementing this system, Apple has been able to accurately count the number of glass pieces produced and determine the amount of material wasted due to defects. Initially, Apple found that three out of 10 cover glass pieces were discarded, but with pressure from Apple, the suppliers have been able to reduce this rate to one in 10, saving Apple hundreds of millions of dollars.
This barcode system has been in use since 2020 and allows Apple to track production levels and yield rates by knowing which company produced the glass and the manufacturing date. While barcodes have been used in the past for other iPhone components, this is the first time they have been used for display screens. Apple’s full report goes into the complex, multi-step process used to apply the barcodes onto the displays.
In other news, MacRumors has obtained details about Apple’s upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE, which is internally known as “Ghost.” The iPhone SE 4 is expected to feature a new design based on the iPhone 14 and will use a modified version of its chassis. Additionally, Apple has released iOS 17.0.2 and iPadOS 17.0.2 updates, refining and improving existing features. The first beta of iOS 17.1 has also been released, adding features promised for iOS 17 and allowing users to favorite songs, albums, playlists, and artists in Apple Music.