'Nightline' report on Apple production line shows iPhone is basically handmade

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited January 2014


ABC's Nightline special episode on Apple's production line offered an inside look at the company's supply chain but revealed few surprises, though it did show that the iPhone, with 141 separate steps that go into its production, is practically a handmade device.



Apple granted reporter Bill Weir permission to go inside Foxconn's factories to see the working conditions as its products were being made for the 30-minute broadcast. However, initial response to the story was that it revealed hardly anything new about the situation.



The Verge put together a list of the most interesting facts from the show, noting that perhaps the most interesting revelation was that a Foxconn executive said the manufacturer would welcome demands from Apple to double pay for its workers.



The report also noted that an iPhone takes 141 steps to make, while an iPad takes five days and passes through 325 hands during production. Foxconn manages to produce 300,000 camera modules for the iPad daily.



Workers at the manufacturer pay for their own food, roughly $0.70 per meal, and pay $17.50 a month to share a company dorm room with five to seven others. Wages were apparently $1.78 an hour and new workers were required to go through three days of training and "team building" exercises before starting work.



Weir also interviewed Fair Labor Association president Auret van Heerden. According to him, Apple paid $250,000 to join the association and is also paying for the audit of Foxconn's facilities. The iPad maker announced last month that it was the first technology company to join the FLA. The association began its first inspections last week, with van Heerden noting that Foxconn's facilities are "first class" and "way above" the norm.





Foxconn workers file down the Apple logo on an iPad component. | Credit: Almin Karamehmedovic/ABC News







Days before the show aired, Nightline and Weir promised viewers a "fascinating look into a hidden corner of our world" through the report.



"We will show you how your iPad, your iPhone, your MacBook is made, and we will meet the people who made them," he said in a teaser. "We'll show you how these folks come on buses, sometimes for days, to travel to the Foxconn gates, desperate for a chance to wipe a screen or solder a chip for 10 hours a day at less than $1.50 an hour."



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    This... we already knew.



    The question remains as to how well said hands are treated/paid?
  • gtrgtr Posts: 3,165member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


    This... we already knew.



    The question remains as to how well said hands are treated/paid?



    Probably better than they're going to be in a few years times when they get replaced by robots.



    Poor buggers.
  • michael scripmichael scrip Posts: 1,847member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


    This... we already knew.



    The question remains as to how well said hands are treated/paid?



    Good question. Since Foxconn make products for many different companies... are the workers who assemble Apple products treated differently than workers who assemble produces for Nintendo, Dell, HP, Vizio, Toshiba, etc?



    And what are the average salaries for other types of work in China?
  • mj4ev3rmj4ev3r Posts: 99member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


    This... we already knew.



    The question remains as to how well said hands are treated/paid?





    Much much better than planting rice all day
  • hill60hill60 Posts: 6,959member
    I would like to earn a months rent with only 10 hours of work.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Perhaps some Chinese nationals can fill in some unknowns about labor laws:
    1. What is the percentage increase for OT?

    2. When does OT start?

    3. How many hours a week do they work?

    4. Ballpark estimate of income taxes?

    At $1.78 per hour for a 60 hour work week that's $106.8 per week or $459.24 per month.



    Now taking 70¢ per meal 3x a day for 30 days is $63 a month for food plus $17.50 for lodging is $80.5 in base expenses.



    That tentatively leaves $378.74 per month in profit which is $4,544.88 in savings for a year. That's hard work and not much fun but I don't think the job is more time consuming than cruise ships and from what I can tell they don't pay much better. The only difference is they do get tips and they do seem to work 3-6 month shifts on average before taking some time off. They also seem to work 7 days a week most of the time while I assume Foxconn workers get a day off.



    it's certainly not a job I would want but I also wouldn't want a job working in retail or in the food industry, again, as I did that in my youth for little pay for rent that took me about 2 weeks of earnings to save up for. Back then I could also have a great night out on $20. "It was the best of times, it was the worse of time" is apropos.

    ($1.78 x 60 = $106.8 x 4.3) - ( $0.70 x 3 x 30 + $17.50) x 12 = $4,544.88
  • wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Very few spoiled Americans will ever do a repetitive job assembling gadgets by hand all day..even at the standard American minimum wage. That's one of the many reasons why those manufacturing jobs ain't coming back here in the States. Apple can never find the 200,000 or more people needed to assemble their products here in the U.S. Fact is most Americans would rather work at McDonalds flipping burgers than work in a electronics manufacturing plant.



    Imagine Americans working on those assembly lines, all you'll hear is bitching and moaning.
  • h.ravh.rav Posts: 11member
    ^ True, that's why US economy won't be improving anytime soon.



    The US Gov really needs to encourage their own people to invest in the US, not abroad.



    They can do it by simplifying rules to open new businesses, factories... fix the education system too so US citizens can compete better in the world.
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,034member
    Ferraris are hand made. But not in China.
  • realisticrealistic Posts: 1,110member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...

    The Verge put together a list of the most interesting facts from the show, noting that perhaps the most interesting revelation was that a Foxconn executive said the manufacturer would welcome demands from Apple to double pay for its workers./ ][/URL]



    Slight omission in that Bill Weir added 'if Apple offered to pay for the increases'. That was a rather stupid question on his part. Why would Foxconn say no to a doubling of wages if Apple was going to pay for the raises?
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Realistic View Post


    Slight omission in that he added 'if Apple offered to pay for the increases'. That was a stupid question on ABCs part. Why would Foxconn say no to a doubling of wages if Apple was going to pay for the raises?



    There are 400k employees working on Apple's products, right?



    400,000 x $1.78 x 60 x 52 = $2.22 billion a year cost on top of what they already pay to Foxconn.



    No wonder the Chinese are begging to get jobs. It's like when Henry Ford raised the mininum wage for his factory worker.
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    Very labor intensive! The same factory in the US would be done very differently.
  • realisticrealistic Posts: 1,110member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Very labor intensive! The same factory in the US would be done very differently.



    Agree and that is why the factory isn't in the USA.
  • macky the mackymacky the macky Posts: 4,615member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Perhaps some Chinese nationals can fill in some unknowns about labor laws:
    1. What is the percentage increase for OT?

    2. When does OT start?

    3. How many hours a week do they work?

    4. Ballpark estimate of income taxes?




    The Nightline program answered most of your questions:

    * OT is 1.5 times base or 2 times base under some circumstances.

    * OT starts at 40 or 50 hours a week

    * Hours per week does vary depending on production demands, however most workers will often put in 60 to 80 hours per week

    * Based on the wages paid before the recent wage increase, a worker needs to earn 87 hours of overtime per month to even qualify to pay income taxes.



    Hope that gives you some answers you can work with.
  • macky the mackymacky the macky Posts: 4,615member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Realistic View Post


    Slight omission in that Bill Weir added 'if Apple offered to pay for the increases'. That was a rather stupid question on his part. Why would Foxconn say no to a doubling of wages if Apple was going to pay for the raises?



    The Foxconn manager damn near shit his pants with excitement at the very thought of everyone getting double wages.
  • macky the mackymacky the macky Posts: 4,615member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    I would like to earn a months rent with only 10 hours of work.



    Sounds good, but you'd have to share your room with 7 other men all speaking Chinese.
  • entificationentification Posts: 23member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    I would like to earn a months rent with only 10 hours of work.



    Keep in mind that they're living in shared accommodations.



    You can do so easily in the United States if earn minimum age. Just keep in mind that you will be sharing a single large room with 5 to 7 other people.



    $7.25 * 10 hours = $72.50.

    $72.50 * 7 = $507.50/month.



    Depending on where you live in the U.S. this could pay for something a little larger than a dormitory-style room with shared facilities.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post


    The Nightline program answered most of your questions:

    * OT is 1.5 times base or 2 times base under some circumstances.

    * OT starts at 40 or 50 hours a week

    * Hours per week does vary depending on production demands, however most workers will often put in 60 to 80 hours per week

    * Based on the wages paid before the recent wage increase, a worker needs to earn 87 hours of overtime per month to even qualify to pay income taxes.



    Hope that gives you some answers you can work with.



    Thanks for the info. I hope more of the other details can get answered. Perhaps even someone who knows someone that has worked at Foxconn.



    Oh, it looks like the video report is posted in section on their site: http://abcnews.go.com/nightline





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by entification View Post


    Depending on where you live in the U.S. this could pay for something a little larger than a dormitory-style room with shared facilities.



    Don't forget there is water and electric to pay, as well as laws regulated the number of occupants, which probably isn't that hard to get around but still can be an issue.
  • macky the mackymacky the macky Posts: 4,615member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post


    Good question. Since Foxconn make products for many different companies... are the workers who assemble Apple products treated differently than workers who assemble produces for Nintendo, Dell, HP, Vizio, Toshiba, etc?



    In the other parts of Foxconn there is this guy that beats a big drum that everyone has to row in sync with. Stun guns applied randomly keeps everyone working feverently on the edge of their chairs. The sign above their work area reads, (Google Translation) "Work will make one Free."
  • tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Lets see. They get $178 an hour. X that by lets say 12 hours? They get $21.36 a day. Now assuming they work 5 days a week witch they may not as they may work 4 on 3 off. so lets go with 4 on. X that they get $85.44 a week. Now X that by 4 and they will get $341.00. I would assume that taxes are taken out. I googled that and it is 26.8%. So lets take taxes out and that leaves $273.40 minus $17.00 = 256.4. Meals are about $63.00 a month. And expenses lets say $40.00 and we have $216.00. That gets sent to their families. 6 Years ago this never existed over there. Its only because of the protests of the workers such as hurling them selves to their death that improved the working conditions. Other wise there would not be so many people flocking to the factory to get work.



    I am assuming there may be some one who will try and correct me on my math. I actually rounded it off. So you can correct all you want I don't give a shit.
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