Tag Archives | Apple

Inside Foxconn: How iPads Are Made

A short but nuanced glimpse at the conditions from which spring our beloved Apple products, with long hours of tedium and breaks on the soccer field. If this was your life, would you want to use an iPad after?

Marketplace Shanghai Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz is only the second reporter ever to gain access to visit the factory floor at Apple’s Chinese producer Foxconn.

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The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs [Mike Daisey]: His Reaction To Critics

Mike DaiseyVia Mike Daisey’s blog for audio and transcript on The Atlantic :

Last night, at a long-scheduled appearance at Georgetown University, Mike Daisey gave his first public talk since the news broke last Friday that This American Life was retracting the now-infamous episode featuring his work. Daisey is a complicated and conflicted figure, and, it’s hard not to feel complicated and conflicted about him and about his work. His talk last night, which I’ve transcribed below as best I could, provides a new dimension to the story that is now at the center of a scandal.

This is my first scandal. (Laughter)

I haven’t had another one like it.

And, as they say, if you’re going to go, go big.

And so, I was on the train down here today, and I was keenly aware that I was coming down to talk about “Art and the Human Voice in the Global Labor Struggle,” and I was keenly aware of the situation that I have been embroiled in, that I embroiled myself in …

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‘Fair Trade’ iPhones?

iPhonesFair Trade labels, are an increasingly a common sight on food stuffs like coffee, bananas, sugar, tea and chocolate. While the labeling system is an imperfect mediator to global disparity and injustice, it does help traditional farmers moderate their standard of living. However, given the complex and multiple processes involved in the production of new technologies like phones, mp3 players, and laptops — is ‘fair trade’ technology even possible? Reports Ryan Huang on ZDNet Asia:

There may be a market for more ethically sourced and produced electronics driven by the increased public scrutiny and awareness over labor issues and related concerns over the sector, say industry observers. However, some express reservations over the feasibility of implementing a fair trade model in the industry.

The electronics manufacturing industry came under the spotlight following a series of suicides involving Foxconn workers in a Chinese factory, which manufactures devices for major brands such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Samsung.

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Foxconn Has The World’s Largest, And Worst, Internship Program

5678601035_6492c5f4cf_zWhat’s worse than slave labor? Slave internships. About a third of the workers in Foxconn’s iPhone factories are young adults participating in the world’s biggest, most hellish internship program. They are students who have been told that they will not receive their degrees without completing the experience — Foxconn pays kickbacks to their schools. Motherboard writes:

One of the lesser-known aspects of the manufacturing behemoth behind gadgets by Apple, Amazon and many others: a giant internship program rife with abuse. With the help of schools and government officials, the company runs a massive internship program built not on voluntary education but on “compelled” factory work for teenage students. According to Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation, Foxconn may be running “the world’s single largest internship program.”

Foxconn says it relies on as many as 180,000 interns during the summer months to fulfill the needs of the voracious beast of Western gadget demand — companies like Apple, Amazon, HP and nearly every other major electronics brand.

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Chinese State Police Seize iPhone Branded Gas Stoves

I want one of these knockoff Chinese iPhone stoves so badly. And to be fair, they are probably made in a factory next to the one in which iPhone phones are created. Via M.I.C. Gadget:

Two warehouses containing iPhone branded gas stoves got seized by the state police at Wuhan, after discovering they are not real Apple products. Each of the stoves comes with an Apple logo in green color.

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iPhones Cost Less Than $30 To Make?

Eric Mack writes on cNet News:

Recent Foxconn revelations hint at higher costs than previous estimates that are still staggeringly low by Western standards. An unprecedented peek behind the curtain of Foxconn’s factories in China may have revealed new hints to how much it actually costs to make each iPhone.

ABC’s “Nightline” was recently given access to the factory floor, and the resulting reporting has provided some new insights into exactly how iPhones are built, a part of the gadget’s gestation process that’s typically been a very closely guarded trade secret.

Horace Dediu, blogger, analyst, and former business development manager for Nokia, tried to parse some of the clues and came to some interesting conclusions …

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Mass Suicide Threat Results In Massive Lay-Offs For Foxconn Workers

Will Fan Boys finally rebuke their iPhones as more news of Foxconn’s inhumane treatment of workers surfaces in this ZNet article by Hana Stewart-Smith?

When 300 men and women climb onto a rooftop and threaten to commit suicide in protest over denied compensation, it is impossible not to wonder how a company could lead its employees into such desperation.

500px-Foxconn_Logo

But Foxconn did.

A little over a week ago, 300 employees at Foxconn’s Technology Park in Wuhan, China threatened their own lives because they were denied a vital pay increase. Foxconn told them they could either keep their jobs without it, or they could quit and be compensated.

Many chose to quit, but the company terminated the agreement, and none of the former workers received the promised compensation.

Production at the company was temporarily halted. It was not until 9 pm the next day that the town’s mayor was able to talk the 300 down from the roof.

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The Glaring Omissions Of iPhone’s Siri

Apple’s new iPhone 4S has made waves for its voice-commanded virtual assistant, personified as “Siri”. However, users have noticed that Siri seems to have a blackout concerning certain topics — is Apple pandering to the Christian Right? Via Amadi Talks:

The recent illustrations of Siri, the iPhone 4S voice-recognition based assistant, failing to provide information to users about abortion, birth control, help after rape and help with domestic violence has gotten a lot of notice.

Siri can answer a lot of health related questions perfectly well, why shouldn’t we expect it to be able to answer reproductive health related queries too? Why treat reproductive health as a walled-off garden that the general public can’t or shouldn’t be exposed to?

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Steve Jobs (Spiritually) Hated Power Switches

60 Minutes had a lengthy interview with Steve Jobs’ handpicked biographer Walter Isaacson (who has authored well received biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein). Video below and here’s an explanation for why your iPad or iPhone is a royal pain to turn off:

Walter Isaacson (Jobs’ biographer): I remember sitting in his backyard in his garden one day and he started talking about God. He said, “Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50–50 maybe. But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of — maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on. The he paused for a second and he said ‘yeah, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone.’ He said — and paused again, and he said, “And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.”

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DARPA Tech Invades iPhones Now with Siri

Siri Is Watching

Tim Stevens on Endgadget said this was happening back in ’09. For all those who rushed out to get the new iPhone, if you are using Siri, you are giving a hell lot of personal info to Apple:

Microsoft’s little Clippy, the uppity paperclip who just wanted to help, never got a lick of respect in the ten years he graced the Office suite.

He’s long-since gone, but his legacy lives on through a DARPA project called CALO: the Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes. It’s intended for use to streamline tedious activities by military personnel, like scheduling meetings and prioritizing e-mails, but there are a few non-com spin-offs intended as well, like an iPhone app called Siri due to hit the App Store sometime this year. Siri will have more of a consumer angle, helping to find product reviews and make reservations, but we’re hoping a taste of its military upbringing shines through.

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