According to a report from The Information, Apple has incorporated small QR codes into the displays of iPhones to track the number of defective screens that are discarded by suppliers. These QR codes, one of which is the size of a grain of sand and requires special equipment to view, are etched onto the display or located on the inside of the display along the bezel. The implementation of these barcodes has allowed Apple to have an accurate count of every piece of glass produced and the exact amount of material wasted due to defects. By pressuring suppliers to reduce manufacturing errors, Apple has significantly lowered the number of cover glass pieces thrown away, resulting in savings of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Since 2020, Apple has been using the display barcodes to streamline its manufacturing process and track production levels and yield rates. These barcodes provide information about the manufacturer of the glass and the date it was manufactured. While small barcodes have been used for other iPhone components in the past, this is the first time they have been implemented for display screens. Apple’s precise tracking of defective screens has allowed the company to identify inefficiencies and work with suppliers to reduce errors, ultimately saving significant amounts of money.
The full report from The Information delves deeper into the complex process of implementing the barcodes and the specific steps taken by Apple to ensure accurate tracking. With this innovative use of QR codes, Apple has further improved its manufacturing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.