Human Cost of Producing an iPad in China: Apple Consumer's Reactions

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It all started with a few preloaded photos of Apple's suppliers in China that a couple of people from the UK found on their brand new iPhones in 2008. The photos have since gone viral, and it seems that it was not until then that some consumers realized that Apple products are not made by robots. The New York Times reported recently on the harsh work conditions at Apple suppliers in China. Now, some consumers are saying they would rather pay more for the products, than see those work practices continue.

A recent New York Times report on the cruel working conditions inside Foxconn Technology, and other Apple suppliers in China, is getting a lot of attention.

The report says employees assembling Apple products often "Labor in harsh excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms...Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk."

Moreover, workers also face serious safety threats, sometimes deadly.

Two explosions caused by aluminum dust last year at two Foxconn plants killed four people and injured 77. Two years ago, 137 workers were injured after they were ordered to switch from rubbing alcohol to a toxic chemical, n-hexane, to clean iPhone screens. In recent years, there have been reports of workers jumping from dorm buildings in apparent suicide attempts due to harsh management practices.

[Masco Calbone, Tourist]:
"Safety comes first. Safety of workers comes first."

When asked if iPhone users would pay higher prices so that the Apple product assembly line workers would get better paid, we got similar answers.

[JP Robertson, NJ Real Estate Broker]:
"I would pay more for it. Sure."

[Akbar Merchant, Retail Store Manager]:
"People just can't live without iPhone these days, so I believe they'll buy it. I would buy it."