Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher’s comprehensive article in Sunday's New York Times is a tour de force on Apple, the expediency of business and a fundamental shift from American shores to global manufacture.
Why does Apple now outsource production of iPhones and iPads to China? Bottom line, Chinese factories are more nimble, way cheaper, and treat employees in ways unimaginable and illegal in the US or Western Europe — even if they ultimately produce vastly more product, more quickly.
“It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that 'Made in the U.S.A.' is no longer a viable option for most Apple products,” says the Times.
Apple’s relationship with the now controversial company Foxconn began in 2007, one month prior to Apple’s first iPhone release, when Steve Jobs complained of scratches on the prototype he’d been carrying in his pocket and demanded a new iPhone screen, demanding "I want it perfect in six weeks.”
When consensus was reached that this could only be accomplished in China, Jobs flew to Shenzhen, and in 15 days, Foxconn hired 8,700 mid-level engineers to meet his timetable, a task it would have taken US factories 9 months to accomplish.
Today, Gizmodo notes, Foxconn employs a staggering “one million employees at their mega-factories/city/ghettos, where they manufacture 40 percent of the gadgets people have in the world, including iPhones, iPads, Xboxes and Sony whatevers.”Continue reading...