• Your favorite

    Apple

    ,

    iPhone

    ,

    iPad

    ,

    iOS

    ,
    Jailbreak
    , and
    Cydia
    site.
  • NYT Article Highlights How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Manufacturing Work



    Apple and their overseas production operations have come under considerable heat in the last few years. However, a new article in the New York Times brings to light why Apple, more or less, is forced to manufacture their products in China and other countries.

    The piece is nothing short of enlightening, but trying to summarize the seven-page opus would be a disservice to Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher’s reporting efforts.

    However, the big take aways are:

    • The only place Apple could manufacture products is China, and it isn’t just because of the cost. The Chinese governement subisidized the building of factory cities where companies and manufactures could hire legions of workers (3,000) and engineers (8,700) to live in dorms in a day. This same process would take nearly nine-months in the U.S.
    • The most prescient example of this given in the article is Steve Job’s order to make the iPhone’s screen unscatchable. Jobs refused to sell a phone that people would carry in their pocket under the constant fear of having the screen scratch. So six weeks before the devices release he ordered his “lieutenants” into in office and told them to figure out to make the glass scratch proof, and have it ready in a month. This scale of manufacturing simply wouldn’t be possible in the U.S. under those time constraints.

    After one executive left that meeting, he booked a flight to Shenzhen, China. If Mr. Jobs wanted perfect, there was nowhere else to go.

    New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.

    A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.
    For over two years, the company had been working on a project — code-named Purple 2 — that presented the same questions at every turn: how do you completely reimagine the cellphone? And how do you design it at the highest quality — with an unscratchable screen, for instance — while also ensuring that millions can be manufactured quickly and inexpensively enough to earn a significant profit? — NYT

    • Academic and manufacturing analysts estimate that because labor is such a small part of manufacturing Apple’s devices that paying American workers would add roughly $65 to each iPhone’s end cost.
    • Apple’s A4 and A5 processors are manufactured by Samsung. In Texas. By Americans.


    An enormous amount of information is packed in the article about the regulations, laws, and government postulating that caused the U.S. to lose out on Apple manufacturing, but the message is clear: labor costs equal a small part in the much larger logistical equation that is Apple’s iDevice supply chain.

    Source: The New York Times [via 9to5Mac]
    This article was originally published in forum thread: NYT Article Highlights How U.S. Lost out on iPhone Manufacturing Work started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 46 Comments
    1. JacquesChirac's Avatar
      JacquesChirac -
      oy! Why doesn't anybody get it. This isn't about $65. It's not about buying american-made products. This isn't about tariffs either. It's a complete structural issue. Read my other post for an elboration. More importantly, read the dang article.

      For once, something deep and thoughtful was written about this situation and still we're watering it down into digestible, false narratives.

      People just don't read anything that's longer than five sentences anymore.
    1. Aerocare's Avatar
      Aerocare -
      I wish it were that easy. One of the great things about USA is that we have the freedom to do things like this. It's called a free country and capitalism and as bad as it seems sometimes I still believe it's better than the other options. I've worked and lived in many countries around the world and prefer this to living in countries for example like Saudi Arabia where you can't even speak freely for fear of going to jail or getting beheaded or Germany where you pay almost 50% of your salary in taxes, etc...

      So even though I've been the #1 critic of Apple for taking their production to China where there is current day slavery with workers, I still believe I'll take that over not being free in the USA.
    1. shark101au's Avatar
      shark101au -
      Quote Originally Posted by JacquesChirac View Post
      oy! Why doesn't anybody get it. This isn't about $65. It's not about buying american-made products. This isn't about tariffs either. It's a complete structural issue. Read my other post for an elboration. More importantly, read the dang article.

      For once, something deep and thoughtful was written about this situation and still we're watering it down into digestible, false narratives.

      People just don't read anything that's longer than five sentences anymore.
      Welcome to the dumbing down of the enxt generation. The governemtn has doen an incredible job of shortening the attention spans of anyone under 25, it makes people that much easier to control

      As another poster said about working in a Chinese factory, I did indeed do that for about 13 months. Part of my learning about the factories over there was living with the Chinese people, working with them and getting paid the same as them ($US160/month at the time). This wasn't an American operated factory, it was operated by Taiwanese housing 14,000 people when I was there making textiles. The first months were tough, but I gradually got used to it and the money goes a lot further in China than poeple think. Tehre were days where I would work over 12 hours a day for 7 days a week. Of course I only spent a portion of my time on the production line. I saw how things run from a purely Chinese perspective, I was amde away aware of the red envelopes passed around, the quid pro quo of personal relationships.
      From reading comemtns on modmyi and various other sites and blogs it is blatantly obvious the vast majority of people have no idea what they're talking about when discussing manufacturing and labour issues in China.

      FYI I am an anglo saxon American raised in an upper middle class family.
    1. MetallicaFan1991's Avatar
      MetallicaFan1991 -
      Quote Originally Posted by iZangetsu View Post
      Bull**** I would've gladly shelled out $65 more for my phone knowing I helped in providing jobs for my fellow Americans who need them
      Erm except US ISN'T the only market for the iPhone nor is it the biggest. increase in price to cover jobs of American workers would be to much elsewhere.
    1. jOnGarrett's Avatar
      jOnGarrett -
      Quote Originally Posted by iZangetsu View Post
      So you don't see that you buy foreign products because that's what is available in majority? If it were all made here and you didn't have a choice but to buy US products your argument would be pointless. We get what is available. And like I said I talk with understanding. When your unemployed and have a 19month old daughter to feed let me know what you would be willing to do to provide her with a better future
      I'm a father of two, my youngest turns 9yrs old this Thursday. we have a choice when it comes to what we buy. if you want to buy American, buy Coby (although its founder is Korean and owns 100% stock in the company) but you wont buy Coby cause its garbage.

      I hope you find a Job soon, thanks to Obama you've gotten multiple unemployment extensions so remember that when you go to the polls.
    1. Aerocare's Avatar
      Aerocare -
      Quote Originally Posted by MetallicaFan1991 View Post
      Erm except US ISN'T the only market for the iPhone nor is it the biggest. increase in price to cover jobs of American workers would be to much elsewhere.
      The iPhone was designed and created in the USA so it should be manufactured in the USA no matter how much it costs outside of the USA. I don't complain about anything designed or created in other countries because if they created them then they get to enjoy the lower prices over there. For example if I want to buy a Mercedes Benz it'll cost me more here than in Germany. I don't mind that because they put the money into design and development. They should get the benefits.

      Quote Originally Posted by shark101au View Post
      Welcome to the dumbing down of the enxt generation. The governemtn has doen an incredible job of shortening the attention spans of anyone under 25, it makes people that much easier to control

      As another poster said about working in a Chinese factory, I did indeed do that for about 13 months. Part of my learning about the factories over there was living with the Chinese people, working with them and getting paid the same as them ($US160/month at the time). This wasn't an American operated factory, it was operated by Taiwanese housing 14,000 people when I was there making textiles. The first months were tough, but I gradually got used to it and the money goes a lot further in China than poeple think. Tehre were days where I would work over 12 hours a day for 7 days a week. Of course I only spent a portion of my time on the production line. I saw how things run from a purely Chinese perspective, I was amde away aware of the red envelopes passed around, the quid pro quo of personal relationships.
      From reading comemtns on modmyi and various other sites and blogs it is blatantly obvious the vast majority of people have no idea what they're talking about when discussing manufacturing and labour issues in China.

      FYI I am an anglo saxon American raised in an upper middle class family.
      Please download a spell checker. As a fellow American, but not raised upper class, the incredible amount of spelling errors is embarrassing and only shows lack of pride in what you do. It just helps others make fun of us when you talk about the "dumbing down of the next generation" while having so many errors.
    1. cpotoso's Avatar
      cpotoso -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jahooba View Post
      I'm wondering, how many times was the word "unions" used in the article?

      I did a count: NOT ONCE.

      New York Times: If it goes against your liberal agenda, don't report it.
      Yes, because you would want to work in the conditions of the workers in China. Sure. Go there then.
    1. JacquesChirac's Avatar
      JacquesChirac -
      Quote Originally Posted by shark101au View Post
      Welcome to the dumbing down of the enxt generation. The governemtn has doen an incredible job of shortening the attention spans of anyone under 25, it makes people that much easier to control

      As another poster said about working in a Chinese factory, I did indeed do that for about 13 months. Part of my learning about the factories over there was living with the Chinese people, working with them and getting paid the same as them ($US160/month at the time). This wasn't an American operated factory, it was operated by Taiwanese housing 14,000 people when I was there making textiles. The first months were tough, but I gradually got used to it and the money goes a lot further in China than poeple think. Tehre were days where I would work over 12 hours a day for 7 days a week. Of course I only spent a portion of my time on the production line. I saw how things run from a purely Chinese perspective, I was amde away aware of the red envelopes passed around, the quid pro quo of personal relationships.
      From reading comemtns on modmyi and various other sites and blogs it is blatantly obvious the vast majority of people have no idea what they're talking about when discussing manufacturing and labour issues in China.

      FYI I am an anglo saxon American raised in an upper middle class family.

      Wow, that's incredible! I don't know what in your life path lead you in the direction, but I have a lot of respect for that. It's certainly life experience very few, if really any other than yourself, have obtained. Thanks for sharing that.
    1. Feanor64's Avatar
      Feanor64 -
      yeah dam that factory worker is hot

      oh btw if u dont like it dont buy an iphone simple as that.......

      i mean thats the only way to have ure voice heard it makes no sense to say oh man this is terrible!! then be like oh yeah baby can't wait for the iphone 5 lol

      oh yeah im so sorry for my grammer mistakes commas periods whatever if this offends anyone then i apoligize lol gimme a break im textin on a phone bro who gives a ****
    1. Aerocare's Avatar
      Aerocare -
      Oh well that's what America has to offer the world. We're at the bottom of the barrel in education and they don't care as long as they have their shiny objects to play with. I'm hungry, could you please stop texting and take my order?
    1. Feanor64's Avatar
      Feanor64 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Aerocare View Post
      Oh well that's what America has to offer the world. We're at the bottom of the barrel in education and they don't care as long as they have their shiny objects to play with. I'm hungry, could you please stop texting and take my order?
      lol bro u talkin to me take ure order loooool i dunno im a towboat pilot i made 104000 last year so ull have to take it ureself bud
    1. Aerocare's Avatar
      Aerocare -
      You can be a space shuttle pilot and make $1,000,000 a year for all I know and my comment still holds true. If this is how much pride you have in how you spell I can just imagine any reports you have to fill out, then again you don't even need a GED to operate a boat.

      Don't worry it's not your fault it's the education system who failed you. You also are now alone. Look how much money most NBA basketball players that barely passed high school make and they don't know how to spell either.
    1. Feanor64's Avatar
      Feanor64 -
      Is this better? Is this what you want? Are you kidding me? Does this make you feel better? The company I work for requires me to have at the very least a GED. What's wrong with the educational system? I guess I just fixed it...

      but anyways im just uneducated oh well
    1. Aerocare's Avatar
      Aerocare -
      It's not what I want. I could care less how you portray yourself. I take pride in how I present myself everywhere I go and with everything I write. Not everybody is the same. Be happy.
    1. metaserph's Avatar
      metaserph -
      Topic please...
    1. GTOhaas07's Avatar
      GTOhaas07 -
      I don't feel sorry for anyone in this thread blaming anyone but themselves for being out of work. There are TONS of jobs out there, you just need to swallow your pride and take them. Americans have a bloated sense of self worth that needs to be knocked down a notch. An assembly line worker is not a middle class job, that is unskilled labor and should be paid as such. Look at the US auto industry vs the Japanese. Up until recently, which was of higher quality. I can assure you is was the car being made for $10 an hour and not $40 an hour plus benefits.

      We also need to nix these government handouts for the unemployed. If you can't find a job after 6 months, why should the rest of the country carry you?
    1. RoloDiva13's Avatar
      RoloDiva13 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mr117 View Post
      Seriously? America has unions, high wages (compared to China), safe working conditions and the EPA to protect ALL of us from pollution. China has none of those things. Read the history of the Industrial Revolution (hell, read Dickens) and you can see what comes of that. We fought our way up to this point. How many of you want 10-year-olds working 14-hour days again? How many of YOU want 14-hour working days? When you get hurt in a factory you are fired? No minimum wage? No bathroom breaks? Polluted skies and rivers causing disease? No using your phone to text while working?

      As to those saying, well, I'd pay $65 more dollars, how many of you shop at WalMart or Target? Both are full of Chinese products. Face it, America is an expensive place to make things. It's easy to say, let's get rid of unions and the EPA, but at what cost? So the minimum wage can be lowered and we choke on pollution? These are complicated issues, and can't be solved by simply tossing out the rights American workers have earned over the last 150 years.

      Oh, and which of YOU would be willing to work in conditions found in Chinese factories? For their pay? Even for higher pay? Wake up, here's a biscuit, go work for 12 hours. I live and work outside Los Angeles, in an agricultural area with Hispanic workers toiling in the fields like serfs during the Dark Ages. I hear a lot about the peril we face from undocumented/illegal immigrants (nope, we aren't going to use the word "aliens"), and I don't see any "Americans" (code word for White) trying to get those jobs, even in these hard times.

      It's easy to pontificate about things, but it's much harder to fix them. It's easy to say that China should give us back our jobs, but much harder to face the cost of that. It's easy to blame our politicians, when it is us who want cheaper goods. And it is easy to say that if only things were like they used to be, all would be fine. Most of you wouldn't have liked the 1950s (I was there), and we are living in the 2000s now. We have to adjust to changing ways and find new roads to success. We are no long an industrializing society- China and India are.

      Sad but true. Now get over it and go back to whining about paying for a $.99 app.
      +10
    1. Phillip Swanson's Avatar
      Phillip Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by JacquesChirac View Post
      Wow. Just wow. That is totally not the message of this article. The message this article shows is that this situation is incredibly complicated and to impose a digestible narrative on it like "the message is clear: labor costs equal a small part in the much larger logistical equation that is Apple’s iDevice supply chain" is extremely ignorant and misguiding.

      It's obvious that almost none of you read this article. Not even the person reporting on it read the entire thing. If you did, then you'd realize that it's not a matter of $65. It's a matter of reality. Americans need to face it-- they have too much individuality and too little work ethic to be treated like slaves working 12hr/day shifts in sweat shop dorms separate from their family no matter what the pay. As Steve Jobs said, these jobs aren't coming back. At least not in any foreseeable future particularly with misleading reporting like this. If you think this is a matter of $65, you're lying to yourself. As the nyt article states:

      "But such calculations [the $65] are, in many respects, meaningless because building the iPhone in the United States would demand much more than hiring Americans — it would require transforming the national and global economies."

      There is no way this would ever happen in the United States:

      "Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.

      A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

      “The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”


      Or this:


      "Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States.

      In China, it took 15 days."


      Now let me be clear, I'm by no means advocating a chinese sweatshop system adopted in the US with analogous higher pay. This extreme productivity and efficiency comes at a large ethical and human rights cost that should be hashed out and deliberated.

      I highly urge you to read this article yourself! It's rather interesting and enlightening. This modmyi reporting is very misleading, to say the least.

      The situation is super complicated and the new york times article does an excellent job analyzing this from an extraordinary number of perspectives in great detail.
      The reporting wasn't misleading at all. My statement made it clear that the story detailed a situation that much more complicated than the simple increase in labor costs which would include the human rights issues you brought up. This is also why I started the article out with the statement that any summary wouldn't do justice to the NYT reporters efforts.

      Of course it's more than $65, that was simply a statement regarding the increased cost of labor. The added cost of shipping components to the U.S. instead of across town from another Chinese supplier, production scale, speed, skill, and thousands of other factors come into play. Honestly, the complicated supply chain logic it takes to make all of this work is freakin amazing, even if it is unethical by American standards.

      Production of this size and scale could never be possible in America. Our economy and country (as well as other first world countries) have entered a third technological revolution (started with the advent of the internet in the 70s). The previous two technological revolutions in the last 200 years (first and second industrial revolution) involved creating and distributing energy. These were high-cost, high-investment revolutions where those with the means controlled the future. The new technological revolution is completely knowledge and information based (hence the current and growing IP war). This modular, incredibly fast moving revolution dumbfounds and confuses those in power because they're still perpetuating the business models of the previous techno-revolution. This is why the record labels, music studios, newspapers failed to utilize the internet and it is why those in power will ultimately crash and burn. Technology will increase faster than they can adapt and the people will know and see solutions, bring them to market, and once and for all make the old money power brokers obsolete.

      Third world countries will eventually emerge from their J-curve (when a poor population starts moving up the income ladder) and as their working poor revolt because they want the things their first-world counterparts want, the production scales will be thrown into flux. There is a reason China is manipulating their currency, and trying to slow growth and spending money they don't have to build cities no one uses.

      You were right the situation is incredibly complicated.
    1. mr117's Avatar
      mr117 -
      "Production of this size and scale could never be possible in America" Of course it could. It just stopped being possible after WW 2 when we began to enter the post-industrialized phase of our existence.

      "Don't worry it's not your fault it's the education system who failed you." I'm a teacher (albeit in special education) I went to California schools in the 1950s and 60s. The educational system would be fine without politicians trying to look good to voters and admins trying to look good to politicians. Teachers know how to teach. However, one of the biggest problems is, I'm sorry to say, cultural. Parents and students don't always see the use of education and hard work. Students would rather text in class than listen to a lesson. Mass media and the dream of instant riches has replaced the whole Horatio Alger concept of making it on your own.

      What I'm saying is that many American students fail to learn because they don't try. It's easy to blame the EPA or the educational system or the unions or the Chinese or... but at some point America needs to take a good look at itself and realize what is going on. That's why there are mirrors.