The Genealogy Of Apple iPhones
iPhones are packaged to be simple and minimalistic. Every part of the box is sharp, crisp and clean. It is designed to be easily identifiable and clear what brand it is. Unlike other brands, who use bright colors to attract, Apple does the exact opposite and ironically, it’s the thing that attracts the eye most. Using white, they distinguish themselves as simple in a world of sensory overload. In a book by Adam Lashinsky about Inside Apple, it was revealed that for months, a packaging designer was doing the simplest thing, opening boxes just to make sure the packaging was 100%. Apple puts tons of effort into making sure every single aspect of their packaging is perfect. This is why from a distance, Apple iPhones can be easily known by their simple packaging and this is what they aimed to achieve by putting so much effort into their packaging. The main target audiences of iPhones are teenagers and young adults. While they do target everyone, younger audiences are easily manipulated and are easy to convince they need the newest thing in technology. Adults are more confident in themselves and since apple comes out with new phones every year, it’s hard to convince adults to ditch their perfectly working phones for a new one every year. This is why it’s easier to target younger audiences, they feel an intense need to fit in with their peers and be in “fashion” and have the latest tech.
Most of Apple’s suppliers are based in countries with cheap labor and weak workers’ rights such as China, a country full of labor crises and poor worker protection. “Working excessive overtime without a single day off during the week, living together in crowded dormitories and standing so long that their legs swell, and they can hardly walk after a 24-hour shift”, these are some of the claims that employees in a Chinese supplier have made and they are not without some evidence. In 2010, almost 140 workers were injured using a poisonous chemical at a Chinese supplier, and the following year, two explosions killed four and injured more than seventy-five. Apple had been notified of hazardous conditions before these explosions according to New York Times. The issues in these factories are not only physical, but mentally harmful as well. Banners in a plant, located in Chengdu, China give a warning that no doubt haunts the minds of employees as they work, “Work hard on the job today, or work hard to find a job tomorrow”. The effects of this can be seen in the multiple suicide attempts made over the past few years, New York Times reported about 19 in all. Workers threw themselves off the tall dorm buildings, some, during the day. There were 18 reported suicide attempts in 2010 alone and 14 confirmed deaths. Company officials stopped twenty more workers from jumping. The company response however was doing much to address the issue, according to the guardian, the CEO of the company undergoing these horrific suicide attempts had large nets installed outside many of the buildings to catch falling bodies, they also made workers sign a pledge they wouldn’t attempt to kill themselves.
As a former Apple executive once said to New York Times, “We’re trying really hard to make things better, but people would still be really disturbed if they saw where their iPhones comes from”. As stated above, most of Apple’s companies are based in countries with poor worker protection, so most workers are those who will do anything just to get money to provide for their family. This shows that Apple is taking advantage of cheap labor and the unfortunate circumstances of others. Apple has also come under fire previously for using child labor. In 2013, it was discovered that Apple had multiple children working in the supply chain, the guardian reported on this saying in their article that one Chinese company that employed 74 children under the age of 16. They also reported that these children had been employed using forged identity papers. According to Apple, these children had been knowingly provided by a large labor agency. Apple has taken steps to prevent something like this from happening again, one of the biggest being creating a code of ethics they never had before.
IPhones are replaced every year by millions of people around the world, not because they’re faulty or broken but simply because they want the latest tech. Throwing away these phones every year for no reason leads to lasting consequences on our planet. Our phones contain aluminum, gold and cobalt, materials like this are mined and wasting such precious resources we might not have for much longer is dreadful. These phones also contain high quantity of plastic, gotten from oil. Working with fossil fuels emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and this contributes greatly to global warming. Oil is also resource that won’t last forever and throwing out perfectly good working phones in not helping, and is only wasting it. However Apple in recent years has come out with a code of ethics concerning the environment and is devoting itself to utilizing clean renewable energy. While they might not be there yet, they are making an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. IPhones are a mix of wants and needs. We do need it to communicate with ourselves, and to get information and in some way, a form of socializing not just with our community but also with the world around us. Phones also provide a way to receive important news that affects others in the world. However, people nowadays tend to replace their phones every year, when that is not necessary and their old phones are perfectly useable. They want the newest technology; to fit in with others or to gain status with a more expensive, newer tech. Phones have changed from being a form of communication to being a measure of your status and value now.
Apple, for the past few years have dug a place and established themselves as the biggest thing in the tech market. From 1.39 million iPhones sold in 2007, to 216.76 million in 2017, according to Statista, but at what cost? In the second creation story, it is implied that environmental destruction in the name of progress is acceptable and this is something Apple exemplifies. In their earlier years, they showed no concern for the environmental impact their technology and energy was causing, until they began to receive backlash for it, did they begin to change. However, Apple also goes one further, they don’t care for the health of their employees in the name of progressing the company. According to the Daily Mail, a former Apple executive claimed that the company has had knowledge of labor abuses in some factories for four years - ‘and they’re still going on because the system works for us’. They are fine with turning a blind eye and ignoring the multiple problems if it provides results. In conclusion, Apple is a very problematic company. While they are trying to improve their working conditions and employees’ rights, they are still utilizing other’s misfortune for their own gain and using cheap labor. They are still behind on making sure their employees are safe and healthy, just because they want to produce more and more smartphones.
Finally, they utilize nature in a destructive way, harming the earth with their plentiful emissions, and though they are trying to improve, they still have a long way to go to make up for the harm they’ve caused. I believe that apple can a lot of good in the world, if only they begin to look at the bigger picture and not just the sales number for the year, they are showing signs of getting better and that’s great.