A brand new video report has been created to bring a relatively until-now unseen look inside one of the many Foxconn factories in China creating the new iPad for 2012. A report by journalist Rob Schmitz, who appears to have been given approval by Apple to enter a factory and do a close-up feature on Foxconn for American Public Media's Marketplace, has surfaced today with basic details on the goings-on in the workplace. This report is a far cry from the harsh (and ultimately found fabricated) judgements placed on the working conditions earlier this year - Foxconn looks downright fun to work at here!
What you'll see here is Schmitz taking a quick look at the actual construction process of the new iPad with a few peeks at the machinery that does it along with the testers who test it. These humans and human-controlled machines work next to one another in an area inside the Foxconn campus. It is a campus, after all, not just a factory, with the Shenzen location having 240,000 workers with 50,000 of them living on campus in shared dorm rooms.
This look also takes on This American Life's report by Mike Daisey primarily in text and attempts to recapture the rather important details that he completely fabricated, including workers "poisoned with hexane" and 12 and 13 year old workers - these accounts were fabricated and Daisey himself has come back to the public with a statement that noted his account was mainly "theater."
As Schmitz notes about this whole twisted situation:
"I heard Daisey’s segment on This American Life, and I immediately thought some of the details didn’t seem right. So I decided to just Google the name of Daisey’s translator who appears in the monologue, here name is Cathy, and I then I added ‘translator and Shenzhen’ to her name, and there she was. I found her. The next day, I was at the gates of Foxconn in Shenzhen with a copy of Daisey’s monologue, Cathy was with me, and after going point by point through his monologue, I discovered many of the details, according to Cathy, never happened." - Schmitz
Does this mean that Foxconn's working conditions are perfect and we're to have no worries about the future of the factories forevermore? In some respects, yes. Have a look at Schmitz's continued comments:
"There have been poisoned workers, and Apple’s own audits have caught underage workers at factories making Apple products, but here’s another fact that also might be missing from this whole conversation: From what we know these are rare occurrences in Apple’s supply chain. Life at factories that make Apple products is not all hunky-dory, but the truth is much more complicated than how Daisey’s portrayed the situation." - Schmitz
Have a peek at the video above and see how it affects the image you've got of Foxconn and Apple's manufacturing efforts in China. Let us know what you think!