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Labor advocate challenges accuracy of NYT report on Apple, Foxconn - Page 2

post #41 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is BSR's attempt for damage control and to keep its partnership going with Apple (a partnership doesnt have to end up with a profit) as much as it is to save its reputation.

As long as BSR is on the payroll of Apple, what ever statements that comes out of their mouths are not to be believed.

It is a conflict of interest.

They have an interest to get paid and to assist in the damage control of one of their clients (Apple in this case).

They will do what ever it is to make that happen.

I wondered how long it was going to take for someone to make an absurd claim that BSR was lying now and is simply a paid shill for Apple. I guess the answer is '39 posts'.
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post #42 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is BSR's attempt for damage control and to keep its partnership going with Apple (a partnership doesnt have to end up with a profit) as much as it is to save its reputation. ...

This is a troll's attempt to start a flame war.
post #43 of 123
Despite the recent Xbox story which seems to have been forgotten, Ive seen nothing in this current batch of stories (in the general media) except fire hurled at Applelikely the BEST of the industry, while otherand worsetech companies are not even mentioned. Nice journalism.
post #44 of 123
A number of tech bloggers/pundits, most notably Molly Wood, wrote various articles calling on Apple to make changes. I wonder if these journalist-wannabes retract their self-serving declarations now?
post #45 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Despite the recent Xbox story which seems to have been forgotten, Ive seen nothing in this current batch of stories (in the general media) except fire hurled at Applelikely the BEST of the industry, while otherand worsetech companies are not even mentioned. Nice journalism.

It's standard practice to go after the industry leader, and NY Times timed their piece rather strategically. But it is disturbing that they refused to address the concerns BSR had about the article, and invoked the BSR name nonetheless to back up their story.
post #46 of 123
so tell me,

at the end of the day, does Foxconn have more suicide counseling hotlines than before?

the fact that Apple was informed and "tried" to consult with Foxconn to install more hotlines does not mean anything unless Apple actually made that true.
post #47 of 123
The NYT article was probably typed on a MacBook.

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post #48 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loptimist View Post

so tell me,

at the end of the day, does Foxconn have more suicide counseling hotlines than before?

the fact that Apple was informed and "tried" to consult with Foxconn to install more hotlines does not mean anything unless Apple actually made that true.

Sure, trying is not as good as making it happen. But to say trying means nothing is just a case of pre-established bias.
post #49 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post

The NYT article was probably typed on a MacBook.

Probably true. But I don't think that's really a case of hypocrisy. In journalism, one is taught not to mix business and personal decisions. An pro-war journalist should not shy away from reporting war atrocities. A sportswriter can report what he observes and judges at a football game, and still attend games (or not) for personal pleasure.
post #50 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is BSR's attempt for damage control and to keep its partnership going with Apple (a partnership doesnt have to end up with a profit) as much as it is to save its reputation.

As long as BSR is on the payroll of Apple, what ever statements that comes out of their mouths are not to be believed.

It is a conflict of interest.

They have an interest to get paid and to assist in the damage control of one of their clients (Apple in this case).

They will do what ever it is to make that happen.

What an uninformed, unsubstantiated set of comments.

What a surprise, given Galbi is the source. /s
post #51 of 123
I think the evidence that this is shoddy journalism is plainly obvious. Just take a look around on the Internet where this is perceived by almost everyone to be an "Apple problem." Now consider what products these Apple-adverse people are buying:

1. Samsung phones, manufactured in Tianjin, China, with no oversight.

2. Taiwanese phones, manufactured all over mainland China, with no oversight.

3. Other products from Apple's American competitors, such as HP, who also use Foxconn but who for whatever reason are only mention in passing if at all in these articles. Most of these competitors have been doing far less to address the issue than Apple.

Consider also that these other companies manufacture phones, PCs, etc, on a low-margin and sometimes zero-margin basis. Amazon even loses money on the Kindle (manufactured in China, possibly Foxconn). If you seriously think Apple's competitors even have room to improve labour conditions (especially Korean and Taiwanese competitors who are under no pressure to even check the conditions of their supply chain in mainland China), then you're nuts.

This all leaves a clear conclusion: If you care one whit about working conditions in China, you're better off buying Apple products over competitors. First of all, you should not even be considering buying products made by Taiwanese companies or manufactured by ODMs, who all manufacture in mainland China and there is just no oversight of suppliers at all. Samsung's products might be made in better conditions in Korea but their phones, at least, are manufactured in China and working conditions in Chinese factories are just not a big issue in Korea. So that leaves the American companies who almost all use Foxconn. Among them, Apple has probably been the most proactive so far and has the most wiggle room in their margins to improve conditions (do you think Motorola can afford higher manufacturing costs when it's bleeding money?).

So how are the NYT et al not doing consumers a complete disservice by focusing on Apple so much? Not only does it completely misinform customers but they're openly punishing one of the few companies that has made a commitment to do better and has by most accounts acted on it. It tells other companies that they're better off just ignoring the issue, since that apparently is the best way to stay out of the media's radar (see Microsoft).

Meanwhile if you're a customer who cares about this stuff at all you're only real choices are to either keep buying Apple products or just not buy any phones or PCs.

I don't have a problem with people saying Apple should do more - perhaps they should and perhaps we should tell them they should - but it needs to be done in a balanced way that doesn't mislead customers. The evidence that this has not been done is all around us. This has been turned into an "Apple problem" that can be solved by not buying Apple's products, but that's absurd. The only way you can wash your hands of this is by not buying any products on the market.

Given that the starting premise of this article was so off-based, it's not surprising to me that they misrepresented people along the way.
post #52 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

Nothing that the BSR said lets Apple off the hook. Nothing that the BSR said refutes any factual claims about working conditions.

Their corrections are minor. They are each beside the point of the article, which point concerned working conditions at Apple's suppliers.

I didn't question the accuracy of the charges, just the timing of the story.
post #53 of 123
The nets that are stretched between the buildings in the video are meant to prevent birds from flying in through the open air spaces between buildings. They are also there to prevent iPads and iPhones from being dropped to black-market workers from the factory.
The nets, if you look at them are not capable of catching a 90lb Chinese girl.
This makes the rest of the "reporting" kinda of suspect.
post #54 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psych_guy View Post

I didn't question the accuracy of the charges, just the timing of the story.

What is the 'timing' you would have preferred? Why?
post #55 of 123
Apple contracts with manufacturers that have been shown to abuse workers in a variety of situations, making a variety of products, for a variety of partners, and most of us are cognizant of the fact.

If your neighbor beats his wife, but so do the rest of the men in your neighborhood, does that make it alright with you? All of these arguments saying that Apple is being picked on reduce to the fact that they are guilty of what they are accused of, and they are one of the few companies that could change practices, if they saw fit to do so. You conspiracy theorists that think this is all drummed up as a plot against Apple are frightening, if only because it is disconcerting to encounter unalloyed stupidity of that magnitude.
post #56 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by angryshortguy View Post

Although unions have flaws, nothing is perfect.
The alternative is what you have in China.
$12 per day wages, 20 hour work days, deplorable conditions, and being roused from your sleep at 2am to start production.
Basically, a step above slave labor.
How much is too much at the expense of workers?
It will never be enough. Greed begets more greed...

Did you completeley overlook that the data you are tossing around is associated with CHINESE workers in CHINA? While a labour rate of $12/day is extremely low in the UNITED STATES, thoose standards do NOT apply anwhere else.

And while many countries have de facto standards of when first, second, and third shifts begin and end, those times frames DO NOT apply in other countries.

Many workers are 'roused from their sleep' to begin their work 'day'. Others are 'called in' on an emergency basis. This is not unusual.

Do stop applying your standards where it's inappropriate to do so. American labor laws and conventions don't apply anywhere else in the world. And since the workers under discussion are NOT Apple employees, what anyone thinks Apple should do for these employees and the company they work for doesn't matter. It's another country, folks. Butt out!
post #57 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psych_guy View Post

It was a hit piece, plain and simple. Apple's earnings were through the roof and the story was waiting in the wings until after the quarterly report. Don't know who is behind a lot of these auspiciously timed "news" stories about Apple, but they always seem to hit when Apple is at a peak. Are people wanting to short the stock that badly?

Maybe the NYT is secretly owned by majorcrap, google, htc, or samsung?
post #58 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanSolecki View Post

Apple contracts with manufacturers that have been shown to abuse workers in a variety of situations, making a variety of products, for a variety of partners, and most of us are cognizant of the fact.

If your neighbor beats his wife, but so do the rest of the men in your neighborhood, does that make it alright with you? All of these arguments saying that Apple is being picked on reduce to the fact that they are guilty of what they are accused of, and they are one of the few companies that could change practices, if they saw fit to do so. You conspiracy theorists that think this is all drummed up as a plot against Apple are frightening, if only because it is disconcerting to encounter unalloyed stupidity of that magnitude.

I really hate these stupid analogies.

You're trying to insist that American labor standards should be applied everywhere else. Should Europeans do the same thing to us and accuse us of slavery because our standard work week is 40 hours while most of them have shorter work weeks? Or maybe Canadians can say that we're abused because we don't have free health care.

Every country and culture has their own standards and situation. It is not up to us to try to enforce our standards on the rest of the world.
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post #59 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post

Two or three sentences does not a thesis paper make.

You're allowed to think anything you want obviously. Unsupported thoughts while common place on many discussion forums do not actually contribute to rational discussion.

"That's hardly a rebuttal because it seems like a canned response" is all the reasoning I need.

Cook's response didn't seem canned, he seemed sincerely upset (rightfully so)

The most recent response seemed like a canned political response. Therefore I hardly see it as a rebuttal.

Maybe I should reiterate that I'm on Apple's side here? And that I only think the response is canned and doesn't seem like much of a rebuttal probably due to my lack of confirmation bias on this situation.
post #60 of 123
After 3 years of pressure by their critics, Foxconn has found a solution to workers conditions. They already announced last August that they will be purchasing a MILLION robots by 2014.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...77016B20110801

Rather trying to solve the prickly issues of long work hours, repetitive motion injury, suicide and constant bad press, they have found the perfection solution, retire your work force of 920,000 people. Let them go back to their small farms working 14-16 hours a days; living in hovels without electricity, running water let alone indoor bathroom; living on a dollar a day.

In three years, everything is going to be better. I am sure all the ex-Foxconn employees will appreciate the help from the anti-Apple bloggers for making their lives so much better.

(Unintended consequences from ill-informed, naive Western do-gooders)
post #61 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbtinc View Post

Ya know, somehow I don't seem to have much sympathy for the brutalized chinese worker. Once again - interventionalism at work here. If the workers in the worker's paradise are being abused let them deal with it but in the meantime and since they've stolen our jobs, I plan to take full advantage. As the old saw goes "get while the getting's good."

"They've stolen our jobs"

What?

We gave them our jobs at our own expense.
post #62 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by joguide View Post

After 3 years of pressure by their critics, Foxconn has found a solution to workers conditions. They already announced last August that they will be purchasing a MILLION robots by 2014.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...77016B20110801

Rather trying to solve the prickly issues of long work hours, repetitive motion injury, suicide and constant bad press, they have found the perfection solution, retire your work force of 920,000 people. Let them go back to their small farms working 14-16 hours a days; living in hovels without electricity, running water let alone indoor bathroom; living on a dollar a day.

In three years, everything is going to be better. I am sure all the ex-Foxconn employees will appreciate the help from the anti-Apple bloggers for making their lives so much better.

(Unintended consequences from ill-informed, naive do-gooders)

So Foxconn decided to go robotic due to complaints?
post #63 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

So Foxconn decided to go robotic due to complaints?

Can't make the worker work harder, can't pay them less, can't afford to give them benefits, can't continue with the negative press from enlightened Western consumers which affects Western client companies which affects them directly. To answer your question, yes.

By the way, first time in 2 or 3 decades GM is making a subcompact car in the US. They did this with an automated robotic factory using 1/3 the normal work force.

When Obama asked Steve what could be done to bring jobs, back to the US, he replied they aren't coming back. He meant they aren't coming back because menial production jobs are going to be replaced by robots. The comparative labor advantage in China is short lived.

If you ever visit the BMW plant in South Carolina, you will understand what I mean.
post #64 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

From the Verge article



How does BSR know who the "anonymous" source is if he/she is anonymous?

This is like a company caught red handed by an anonymous whistle blower out rightly denying any involvement in a fraud scam.

anonymous = identity not revealed
anonymous ≠ identity unknown
post #65 of 123
"Labor advocate challenges accuracy of NYT report on Apple, Foxconn"

Above is the AI headline. I looked up the membership list of this non-profit organization. It is all corporate with some educational institutions having associative membership.

http://www.bsr.org/en/our-network/member-list

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post #66 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by joguide View Post

After 3 years of pressure by their critics, Foxconn has found a solution to workers conditions. They already announced last August that they will be purchasing a MILLION robots by 2014.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...77016B20110801

That was debunked the last time it came up. The entire world has only a couple million industrial robots at this time. It is extremely unlikely that Foxconn is going to by the equivalent of 1/2 of the number that the rest of the world uses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BertP View Post

"Labor advocate challenges accuracy of NYT report on Apple, Foxconn"

Above is the AI headline. I looked up the membership list of this non-profit organization. It is all corporate with some educational institutions having associative membership.

http://www.bsr.org/en/our-network/member-list

So? If you're going to insinuate something, how about providing some evidence to back up your claim that they're biased. And before you do, keep in mind the following organizations that are funded by business, too:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Better Business Bureau

But you think they're more biased than the NYT which is simply out to sell papers - and hit pieces like theirs help them to do that?
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post #67 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

That was debunked the last time it came up. The entire world has only a couple million industrial robots at this time. It is extremely unlikely that Foxconn is going to by the equivalent of 1/2 of the number that the rest of the world uses.



So? If you're going to insinuate something, how about providing some evidence to back up your claim that they're biased. And before you do, keep in mind the following organizations that are funded by business, too:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Better Business Bureau

But you think they're more biased than the NYT which is simply out to sell papers - and hit pieces like theirs help them to do that?

You are presumptuous and disrespectful.

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post #68 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by angryshortguy View Post

Although unions have flaws, nothing is perfect.
The alternative is what you have in China.
$12 per day wages, 20 hour work days, deplorable conditions, and being roused from your sleep at 2am to start production.
Basically, a step above slave labor.
But if you truly believe decent paying jobs would stay right here in America if we could produce it cheaper, look at the earnings of corporations. How much is too much at the expense of workers?
It will never be enough. Greed begets more greed...

Baloney. Chinese factory workers are also quite able to quit and go to work for another factory if they want. They are not prisoners. One of the issues many factories have been facing is a scarcity of workers. This is one of the reasons why China has been moving factories to Vietnam, Africa and elsewhere.

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post #69 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

NY Times is disgusting. Can't believe anyone pays for that piece of trash.

Tim Cook might want to consider banning that NY Times app and ending any advertising arrangements with their paper. Payback, baby.

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post #70 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

A number of tech bloggers/pundits, most notably Molly Wood, wrote various articles calling on Apple to make changes. I wonder if these journalist-wannabes retract their self-serving declarations now?

Shooting off one's mouth too early is a problem in the blogging world... and in the world at large.

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post #71 of 123
"That was debunked the last time it came up. The entire world has only a couple million industrial robots at this time. It is extremely unlikely that Foxconn is going to by the equivalent of 1/2 of the number that the rest of the world uses."

In 2008, there were 1.3 million industrial robots and 7.3 million service robots. Most automation, like screwing a bolt or doing subassembly does not require an industrial robot with several axis of rotation and freedom of movement. Foxconn mostly does subassembly.

But the fact of the matter is Foxconn is building a new facility to build robots. They are going into the robot business to make robots that they will use in their plants.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-...robot-kingdom/

Do you really believe that the largest electronics company in the world does not have the ability or the economy of scale to make that number of robots? You know they make over 40% of all the consumer electronics in the world.
post #72 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by joguide View Post

After 3 years of pressure by their critics, Foxconn has found a solution to workers conditions. They already announced last August that they will be purchasing a MILLION robots by 2014.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...77016B20110801

Rather trying to solve the prickly issues of long work hours, repetitive motion injury, suicide and constant bad press, they have found the perfection solution, retire your work force of 920,000 people. Let them go back to their small farms working 14-16 hours a days; living in hovels without electricity, running water let alone indoor bathroom; living on a dollar a day.

In three years, everything is going to be better. I am sure all the ex-Foxconn employees will appreciate the help from the anti-Apple bloggers for making their lives so much better.

(Unintended consequences from ill-informed, naive Western do-gooders)

Back when I used to go there, one of the factories I frequented grew so fast that in the space of several years, they went from mostly hand-assembly work to mostly automated using the newest, most expensive equipment. Unless you have been there and have seen it for yourself, you would not believe the pace of change in China.

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post #73 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by joguide View Post

"That was debunked the last time it came up. The entire world has only a couple million industrial robots at this time. It is extremely unlikely that Foxconn is going to by the equivalent of 1/2 of the number that the rest of the world uses."

In 2008, there were 1.3 million industrial robots and 7.3 million service robots. Most automation, like screwing a bolt or doing subassembly does not require an industrial robot with several axis of rotation and freedom of movement. Foxconn mostly does subassembly.

But the fact of the matter is Foxconn is building a new facility to build robots. They are going into the robot business to make robots that they will use in their plants.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-...robot-kingdom/

Do you really believe that the largest electronics company in the world does not have the ability or the economy of scale to make that number of robots? You know they make over 40% of all the consumer electronics in the world.

They specifically stated that they were buying 1 million INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS.

Do you seriously believe that if there were only 1.3 M industrial robots in the entire world in 2008 that one company could buy and install 1 M of them?
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post #74 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Back when I used to go there, one of the factories I frequented grew so fast that in the space of several years, they went from mostly hand-assembly work to mostly automated using the newest, most expensive equipment. Unless you have been there and have seen it for yourself, you would not believe the pace of change in China.

Regrettably, this is the way of the world. Steve Jobs realized this when he told Obama, those jobs are not coming back to the U.S. and eventually will be gone in China. Assembly jobs are going to be done by machines working 24/7. No worries about vacation, rest, benefits, or strike. They don't need heating, A/C or even lights. The whole assembly can be done with the lights off. There is no way that even the lowest paid human workers can compete at this massive level of industrialization.

The question for each nation is what do you do with millions of unemployed hardworking people who want to work but have no jobs.
post #75 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

They specifically stated that they were buying 1 million INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS.

Do you seriously believe that if there were only 1.3 M industrial robots in the entire world in 2008 that one company could buy and install 1 M of them?

You did not read my post did you? When doing subassembly work, you don't need expensive industrial robots to screw on a bolt. There more than enough service robots that can do this.

Number of iOS devices made in 2006: 0.
Number of iOS device made in just the last quarter: 67 million. 67 million in the last 3 months.

You don't think they can't make a million industrial or service robots in the next 2 years for their production needs?
post #76 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Tim Cook might want to consider banning that NY Times app and ending any advertising arrangements with their paper. Payback, baby.

If Apple, or any other company, decides to censor news media, that's the last time I'll buy anything from them.

Free Press is free, period. If you don't like it, feel free to move to Venezuela, or China for that matter.
post #77 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I wondered how long it was going to take for someone to make an absurd claim that BSR was lying now and is simply a paid shill for Apple. I guess the answer is '39 posts'.

They get paid by Apple, yes or no? It's yes, so they are by definition neither a labor advocate nor objective.

The only problem with the NYT piece is that it singles out Apple for something the entire industry does. Beyond that, these practices are a shameful stain on the tech industry. The rest is fourth-rate rationalizing.
post #78 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by joguide View Post

You did not read my post did you? When doing subassembly work, you don't need expensive industrial robots to screw on a bolt. There more than enough service robots that can do this.

Number of iOS devices made in 2006: 0.
Number of iOS device made in just the last quarter: 67 million. 67 million in the last 3 months.

You don't think they can't made a million industrial or service robots in the next 2 years for their production needs?

Your double negative is a bit confusing, but I gather you are saying that Foxconn can make 1 million robots in the next two years. I would say that is highly unlikely. As an aside, they'd need industrial or manufacturing robots, not service robots.

Back to the main point, it is indeed impressive to produce double-digit millions of anything. Kudos to Foxconn (and many others in the supply chain). But that didn't happen overnight.

A good year in the robot industry is somewhere over 100k units shipped. A bad year is 50k. In other words, the entire world has never approached spitting distance of 1M industrial robots over 4-5 years, never mind 2 years. On the other hand, the world has collectively produced 100M electronic products in a single year before. Can Foxconn, who doesn't make robots now (AFAIK), become overnight the most prolific robot manufacturer in history?

A robot consists of motors, chassis and a controller. The controller comprises a real-time computer running motion control and planning software. It too is a product that has never been shipped in the millions. The type of robots needed for electronic assembly have 4 (SCARA configuration) or 6 axes (articulated). A million robots need 4-6 million motors - typically AC motors or DC brushless motors. You will be hard pushed to find anyone capable of delivering that quantity in such a short time.

Let's not forget cable harnesses, cast metal chassis, etc, etc. Furthermore, a robot has to be set up in a special work cell and programmed to do its job. While the same program could be used to run hundreds of thousands of robots doing the same thing, you need to teach the key locations individually because no two work cells are truly identical (repeatability of ≤ 0.005" will be needed). You need specialized skill for this. Trainable, but it takes time. And the task of building 1M robotic work cells is as daunting as building the robots themselves.

Having seen Apple/Foxconn ramp up its manufacturing to today's scale, I'd never say anything is beyond them. But the iPhone ramp up has taken 4 years. Producing 1M robots in 2 yrs is a much greater than producing 100M electronic devices (because the latter has been done before). Possible? Maybe. Likely? Not at all. It would be a feat more amazing than what either company has done to date.

And the thing about robots is that they are not as versatile as imagined. Choose the wrong robot type to start with and you may be stuck with 100M lbs of deadweight by the time you finish making them. Such robots cost between $15-35k each. The work cell will triple the cost. Let's call it $20k for the total system given the economy of scale, it's still a $20B gamble. I may be wrong, but I think this is Foxconn bravado. The figure of 1 million is not only impractical to achieve from a production perspective. I question the need for such a number as well.

I say all this while remembering that producing computers using nothing but robots is one of the unrealized visions of Steve Jobs. It will likely remain so for much longer. I'm sure robots are used already in the process (can't imagine that they are not used at all). But to completely replace workers? Hmm ...
post #79 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Having seen Apple/Foxconn ramp up its manufacturing to today's scale, I'd never say anything is beyond them. But the ramp up has taken 4 years. Producing 1M robots is a much greater than producing 100M electronic devices (because the latter has been done before). Possible? Maybe. Likely? Not at all. It would be a feat more amazing than what either company has done to date.

And the thing about robots is that they are not as versatile as imagined. Choose the wrong robot type to start with and you may be stuck with deadweight by the time you finish making them. Such robots cost between $15-35k each. The work cell will triple the cost. Let's call it $20k for the total system given the economy of scale, it's still a $20B gamble. I may be wrong, but I think this is Foxconn hot air.

The level of robot sales has more to do with the lack of demand than production. In fact, 2010 saw a decline in sales due to the terrible economy. I think last year, sales have increased since due to increased demand.

The goal may exceed the capabilities of the Foxconn, but 4 years ago, who could have imagined that Apple/Foxconn could make over 250 Million iOS devices a year.

Look, I am not arguing the number. You may well be right. My point is that automation/robotic production is going to happen, and workers are going to be displaced on a large scale. It is happening as we speak. These issues of worker condition, while important, is going to be moot, at least, at this massive industrial scale. Yes there are going to be on site engineers and assorted personal, but the assembly part of the process (putting on bolts) are going to go away.

You do bring up an interesting point about a $20B gamble to do this. With withering criticism and $97B in the bank, I wonder if Apple has or will front the money to do so. They have been known to help pay partners for new technology and new method of production. The irony may be that Apple will dramatically improve working conditions by helping to eliminate jobs, at least menial jobs. For the vocal critics of Apple, they need to be reminded of the law of unintended consequences. When that day happens, I wonder if the critics will then turn around and accuse Apple of destroying peoples lives by letting robots take over their jobs.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joguide View Post

The level of robot sales has more to do with the lack of demand than production. In fact, 2010 saw a decline in sales due to the terrible economy. I think last year, sales have increased since due to increased demand.

But because we are talking about demand that exceeds historical demand by an order of magnitude, the world's ability to meet it is not there yet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joguide View Post

The goal may exceed the capabilities of the Foxconn, but 4 years ago, who could have imagined that Apple/Foxconn could make over 250 Million iOS devices a year.

But 4 years ago, the world has already produced certain products similar to iPhones in quantities of double-digit millions, even > 100 M. The world has never produced robots anywhere close to what Foxconn wants.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joguide View Post

Look, I am not arguing the number. You may well be right. My point is that automation/robotic production is going to happen

It has been happening for a long time. But human labor remains cheaper than robots, and are far more dextrous and versatile. Human assemblers can learn new assembly procedures overnight (or nearly). But if a new iPhone design calls for new assembly methods, you need to re-invest to update your robotic work cells to accommodate. This is why only some steps are consistently done using robots (or, more often, what's known as fixed automation) while others are consistently manually executed. To assemble with robots from end-to-end, you need to able to pay off your investment in at most 2 yrs. Greater advances will be needed to accomplish this, accompanied by increase in human labor costs. The latter will eventually happen, but not for another 1 or 2 decades.
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