While Apple's relationship with Chinese factories came under fire last year, and their processor and glass manufacturing in the U.S. came up as a result, there's a lot more to their logistics than just those two places. To that point, ChinaFile has put together an interactive map, compiled from Apple's 2013 supplier's list, showing just where all the components and materials from all our iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macs, and related accessories and peripherals come from, and how much.
Working conditions at the Chinese factories operated by Foxconn, where vast amounts of the gadgets used around the world are made, including Apple's iPhone and iPad, are improving. Granted, that's going from truly terrible to slightly less bad, but it's movement and momentum in a direction decidedly better for the people who make the stuff that we use.
For some time now there have been Apple products that bore "Assembled in USA" labelling, specifically built-to-order custom-configured Macs. But standard configurations of MacBooks and iMacs universally came over from China. As noted by Fortune, some of Apple's new super-slim 21.5-inch iMacs are coming with "Assembled in USA" labels, in standard configurations available off-the-shelf at Apple's retail stores. Now, not all of the new iMacs bear USA labeling, there are a lot that also come with the China labels still. But enough to be curious.
iPhone supply shortages happen almost every year, but with the iPhone 5 they've been compounded by quality assurance concerns -- namely chips and scratches occurring at the factory before the devices are as much as opened by customers. A nameless Foxconn executive has some thoughts as to why.
Chinese officials have confirmed that Apple is looking to open new stores in Chengdu and Shenzhen, the home town of Apple's major manufacturing partner, Foxconn. Apple only has to get an environmental permit before having final approval for the Shenzhen store, while the Chengdu location has been approved since late May.
A Hong Kong-based activist group called The Student & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior has recently issued a report concluding that very little has change in terms of working conditions since the Fair Labor Association published the results of their in-depth audit.
Foxconn's CEO Terry Gou recently revealed that they intend to split the initial costs of improving factory working conditions following an extensive third-party audit of the facilities where iPads and iPhones are made.
Better late than never, right? That's going to be a bit of a recurring theme for the first few items on this week's hit list, as we wrap up our new iPad coverage and dive head-long into the rest of the week that was. So let's not waste any more time...
Georgia, Seth, and Rene quickly cover the fallout of Chinese factory stories being faked, Apple's cash balance announcement, and the week's headlines, then dive deep into the 2012 iPad review, covering technology and experience. This is iPhone & iPad Live!