Apple Outgrows Us

Apple's success is on a collision course with its advertising.  All these years, Apple has presented itself as the product of the iconoclast, the free thinker and they were able to keep this image intact even when their sales and stocks soared.  Turns out their is a worm in the apple.

Apple typically asks suppliers to specify how much every part costs, how many workers are needed and the size of their salaries. Executives want to know every financial detail. Afterward, Apple calculates how much it will pay for a part. Most suppliers are allowed only the slimmest of profits.So suppliers often try to cut corners, replace expensive chemicals with less costly alternatives, or push their employees to work faster and longer, according to people at those companies.“The only way you make money working for Apple is figuring out how to do things more efficiently or cheaper,” said an executive at one company that helped bring the iPad to market. “And then they’ll come back the next year, and force a 10 percent price cut.” - Apple’s iPad and the Human Costs for Workers in China -

All those gadgets get made as cheaply as possible and people suffer to produce them.  This American Life had a moving piece about the cognitive dissonance Apple fan boys have to hav once they know the truth behind their beloved technology.  Then the NYT wrote two articles that blasted the problem wide open proving that Apple is no different than any other company although the Think Different campaign convinced a generation that Apple somehow was.

Even after these revelations, I can hear the discussion in the Apple conference room now.  It won't be about improving labor conditions or bringing work back to the states.  It will be about how to manage perception so that the public disgust does not translate into a loss in sales.  Their silence so far is just indicative of their arrogance. They want the embers to cool before they extinguish our concerns completely with rationalizations and double-speak.

Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, few are. Almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas.
Why can’t that work come home? Mr. Obama asked.
Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said, according to another dinner guest. - Source

This story debunks the theory that the consumer is all powerful in the free-market. I'd bet any survey of Apple owners would show that they would gladly pay more for a domestic product. Geez, look at how much we pay already. I'd dare say that the Chinese pay more for our ipads than we do.  They pay with their lives.

But consumers are locked into Apple products and the Chinese are dependent on those horrible Apple jobs. I could not do my job effectively without an Apple.  Trust me - I really, really tried.  Apple has cornered a market and they have us cornered.

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