Apple's iPad and the Human Toll for Workers in China

Related radio program. Well worth the listen.

Nice: “Dear Apple: Do something about Chinese working conditions” from Cnet

I listened to this on a long car ride home, informative and entertaining.;lst;1


Whoops indeed. I’m on the TAL email list and got the email from Ira this morning about it.

I also had tickets to the Chicago show. :angry:

TAL is doing the entire show this week on how things got so screwed up with this story. Too bad Daisey felt like he needed to embellish things. I think he could have still made a compelling narrative with the reality of what’s going on over there.

Oh, and your link is bad Mr. Scrotum. I knew what the story was without having to click on it before responding. :laughing:

Aside from the fact that Apple, like so many other great companies, is a slave to quarterly profits - if they were REALLY smart and REALLY wanted to become a game changer they would use their current financial leverage to bring back the category of consumer electronics to US manufacturing. Think of all the people who do not use Apple stuff (myself included) who would all of a sudden become very interested in supporting a company that wants to ‘do the right thing’ for our Country. (cue the various patriotic songs synonymous with the US of A).

I don’t think it would even come close to offsetting the cost of american labor. And if you feel bad for these workers, I don’t think taking their jobs away is going to make things alright. They just need to be more aware of the conditions and be fair.

As a TAL weekly listener it’s great that they are retracting these false statements and I can’t wait to listen to the story.

Would you be willing to spend $3000 on an iPhone, just because it was assembled in America?

Even if you brought back final assembly to the US, all of the chips and components inside Apple devices are manufactured by companies other than Apple, and almost all of them are made somewhere in Asia.

So even if Apple did the “proverbial” right thing all you would have is a bunch of low skill line workers assembling components for 8x the wages. Are those really the jobs you want to bring back?

It reminds me my first hint of this was the GT/Dyno BMX bike I bought in the late 90’s. It had a HUGE “Made in America” sticker on it. Made you feel good that you were doing the “Right thing” but then was quickly informed that every part of the bike had come from Asia, but because final assembly occurred in the US they could legally put “Made in America”. Then about 2 years later the entire company moved over seas and that was the end of that.

At the end of the story (about the 50 minute mark) the NYT reporter states the USA labour cost would be only an extra $10 - $50 per iPhone, the main reason they wont move manufacturing back from China is the concentration of manufacturing- i.e. if you need a new screw, that factory is next door and much easier and quicker to get changes made, than having assembly in one country and parts made in another.

That part doesn’t sit right with me- for example, aren’t most component parts made in different countries already?

That Bill Weir from ABC News pulled a fast one on me, changed the URL after I posted the link, bastard. :laughing:

Actually it was another “woopsie”, this time by the editors at ABC News, not me. Originally the headline (and URL) claimed NPR had retracted the episode when in fact it was “This American Life” which happens to air on NPR. :wink:

FYI: Until recently, 1/3 of Blackberries were assembled in Canada. It’s possible to do assembly and manufacturing in North America, it just requires creativity, organization and balls.

… it just requires creativity, organization and balls.

… and mostly the will and commitment to do so.

With almost $100 billion cash on hand Apple could do pretty much anything, if they wanted to.

This weekend I heard the TAL broadcast where they put all the facts straight, and lay into Daisey. Compelling stuff.

They were fishing for why he did it. Why he lied. It seems he focused on writing a creative, entertaining script instead of a fair report of facts. The crime of the matter (and a serious one) was that he did not present it as a fictional story but as facts.

The bad taste left in my mouth are the types of populist distortions he used, clearly playing up common misconceptions about Chinese manufacturing. One after the other the so-called ‘facts’ are presented; Child labor, expendable workforce, an unfeeling Corporate giant. It’s like a Dickens novel but without the creativity or heart.

It is sick that someone would do this. It’s also equally sad that we listened - it’s like we wanted to hear it.


Apple just announced they are spending almost half their $100 billion on a dividend and share buybacks. If I had Apple stock, this is when I would sell it.

Will be interesting to look at their stock price in 6 months…

I said “Steve jobs is about to die, I should sell my Apple stock”. That was at $370. :frowning:

Stock buybacks/dividends are a sign of strength and confidence in this market, I wouldn’t expect it to reflect in any way other than good on their share price.

Will just be interesting to see in 2 years if they can maintain their pace, or if they’re going to run out of ideas and keep living off tech refreshes.

Scott: I was thinking the same thing. It’s almost an admission that they are vastly over-capitalized.

Cyber: If I had bought Apple at $10, when I wanted to buy it, but had no cash (middle of Uni), I would have sold either at $20 or $300 and been very happy with the profit. I think with the stock market, you have to be satisfied with your decision and not lament. BTW, I sold a few gold coins I had at $1200 / oz. two years ago…ouch. We’ve all sold too soon, but that’s far better than selling too late.

I think there is a danger that if Apple doesn’t create another “wow” product, their stock could start falling faster than little guys could have time to get out of it.

Exactly what I’m thinking. People have come to expect very new and very fast innovation from Apple. The next thing they do better be so big and so unique or else the market will lose confidence (or start to).

I’m not so sure they will need the next “wow” product right away, certainly in the future yes. The reason I say this is Windows based machines are still the majority especially in the business world so there is a TON of room for them to grow into. Now that people own macs at home. iphones, ipads… they are starting to demand macs at work too. Mac taking over the business world could be their biggest triumph yet.

But I am intrigued to what the next “it” product might be.