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back to article 40,000 Apple fanbois demand ethical iPhone 5

Favourite aggregator of anti-corporate campaigns, SumOfUs, has started a petition calling for an "ethical" iPhone 5, and has already garnered more than 40,000 signatures. The emotive petition paints a picture of a young girl in a Chinese factory being steadily poisoned by the use of n-hexane, promising that the neurological …

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FAIL

Tomorrow

40,000 people change their mind when told the new iphone 5 will cost £1000.

Honestly I dont get how naive people are. Apple at least play a reasonable amount of lip service to their suppliers workers health - not brilliant - but better than a lot.

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Anonymous Coward

"40,000 people change their mind when told the new iphone 5 will cost £1000."

Of which only £800 is profit.

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Ok, let's allow another 10 GBP for transport and the guy in the shop.

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"40,000 people change their mind when told the new iphone 5 will cost £1000. Honestly I dont get how naive people are"

iPhone users aren't naive - they just don't care.

Apple makes about 600% profit on iPhones. They can afford manufacturing where people don't die, but they would rather profit more off the sheeple.

It makes me wonder how indifferent iPhone users are to Apple's deadly manufacturing.

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Unhappy

@BillG

I hate to burst your bubble but in general Western society just doesn't care, as long as they get cheaply manufactured goodies of every description, it doesn't stop at Apple and their iPhone users. The average bloke or blokette that walks into their local phone shop or electrical supplier just wants to buy their gadge at the lowest possible price. They couldn't give two monkeys whether their kit was put together by a half starved low paid chinese work slave or by a 9 year old child working 12 hour shifts.... as long as they can get it for £20 cheaper, the conscience generally remains at home. Am I one of those people, yes sadly I am, and I don't have a bit of Apple kit to my name.

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Anonymous Coward

But just think how much more stylish you could be as you exploit 3rd world children if you did buy Apple products...

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Gimp

40000 people..

will change their mind the minute they see an iPhone 5 in the shops, no matter what the cost.

Let's face it, they could make the leather cases out of actual Chinese worker's skin, and Apple will still shift boat loads of them.

iPhone 5, now made with pure puppy blood.

If you don't like how something is made, don't buy it. It's that simple.

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@CmdrX3 - Apple does not allow child labor. Foxxconn does not have child laborers.

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Happy

Apple does not allow child labor. They investigate on their own and have offered their supplier lists to third party investigative teams to make sure this does not happen. Apple is the gold hope to the people of china. And they know it!

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40,000 idiots

Apple is at least trying to improve the situation. It is open and transparent about its suppliers and hires companies to find and correct abuses. No other company even lifts a finger to do anything similar, and dozens of U.S. tech companies use the same suppliers Apple does.

So for going out on a limb to make things better, Apple gets punished by 40,000 idiots. Is this what we have come to as a nation? Our education system must have turned the brains of thousands into oatmeal. No thinking. No logic. No reasoning. No gathering of facts. Just lashing out at whomever is available because someone has been depicted as suffering. Please, spare me.

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Anonymous Coward

SO LONG AS.....

there is a 'Fairtrade' logo on the box they will come.

SMALL PRINT

Apple will donate 5 pence from every sale to Fairtrade initiatives helping workers in third world countries to a better life.

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@RogerThat

You don't see the irony in your statement, do you? A mere *one* paragraph before you wrote "No logic. No reasoning. No gathering of facts.", you made a sweeping generalization that no company, in the entire world, does anything to improve the lives of these people, but "Apple at least tries". Safe working conditions is such a new and innovative concept that only Apple could have come up with it, right? From where I'm standing, you seem like the oatmeal-brained one.

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@CmdrX3

No bubble to burst. But in the case of Apple, let's face it, they are selling an IMAGE and a BRAND. Nobody buys a Blu-Ray disc player to express their independent, creative side. Meanwhile, Apple's commercials show a connected people that are SHARing and COMPASSIONATE. Let's coordinate a meeting with our friends at a coffee shop. There's an app for that, right?

Yeah, most people in Western society don't care, as long as they get it cheap. But Apple users are supposed to caaaaaaare. The Apple brand says that they are not like most people.

Truth is, people who buy iPhones are not different from most people. They are not just a part of the herd, they ARE the herd.

P.S. There are no public records of Mr. Jobs giving any money to charity.

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The point of outsourcing pretty much: get <something> without having to care / being responsible as to how <something> is produced.

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jai
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how many of those 40,000 are really so concerned that they'll _not_ buy the iPhone5 if it isn't shown to be more ethical?

i doubt very many. it's all very well to sign a petition demanding these things, but are they also willing to vote with their wallets?

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Stop

I am and have.

I do not have an iPhone and probably never will.

But that's mainly because of a beef I have with Jobs, dead though he may be, and the legacy he has left behind.

But are the alternatives all really that free of taint?

I bought a HTC a long while back which probably reeks of taint along similar lines. As do most things. A long time ago you'd see toys 'Made in Hong Kong'. Now you see almost everything (ok, I exaggerate, but you get the picture), 'Made in China'.

There's quite little we can do I think, but I'm open to suggesitons.

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Anonymous Coward

Hows about...

Hows about Apple actually start giving money to charity. All other silicon valley companies do, but not Apple, presumably because of Steve's buy-in to Ayn Rand's philosophies. Now Steve has gone, I hope that Apple start realising that they have to take part in the societies that they profit from - be that in China where the manufacture is, or in the West where the money is.

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Hows about you not ignoring the fact that they do give to charity through their matching employees donations scheme.

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@amanfromearth

Wowee, how generous. Their employees must spend the money for them to do so... I can imagine that must amount to hundreds and thousands per year. I bet charities are so grateful.

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or how about...

...making a version in the USA, for the USA? They wouldn't have to change their profit margin or compromise on standards. Just make it a different colour or something so that the ethical worriers can just pay more.

If nobody buys this (more expensive) version then Apple have proved that the consumers themselves put value over ethics.

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Not at all

If it is a matching programme (like I've seen at Sun), the employee merely raises money for chairty (or gives money to charity), that their employer then matches pound for pound, dollar for dollar.

A few years ago, one of our fundraising teams (we run events) raised £14,000 for charity, and iirc Sun Microsystems were putting up another £14k as per their charity programme.

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@amanfromearth

"Hows about" remembering that there is no evidence that Stevie "Boy Wonder" Jobs ever personally gave ANY money to charity? Hmmm?

"Writing for the New York Times, Andrew Sorkin was puzzled that he couldn’t find any evidence that Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder, had given away any part of his significant $8.3 billion personal wealth. What he did find is that when Jobs returned to his old company in 1997, he canceled Apple’s philanthropic programs and they have remained dormant ever since."

http://www.thenewamerican.com/economy/commentary-mainmenu-43/8915-steve-jobs-charitable-contributions-he-gave-at-the-office

As much as a scumbag Bill Gates was/is...he and his wife have given BILLIONS of dollars away to charity...and continue to do so.

And no…I’m not an Apple Hater…I own 3 iPods and 3 Apple computers…but I still think Jobs was a dirtbag of the highest order. Maybe only to be eclipsed by Larry Ellison.

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@ItsNotMe

Jobs deemed his most effective way of contributing to humanity was focusing his time and resources on turning out millions of new products that people want, and improving people's lives through these products. He was obviously correct.

Bill Gates this the best use of his time and money for humanity was funding and running his own charities instead of running Microsoft turning out more versions of Windows. Considering the state of Windows at the time that big charity started, essentially a big monopoly casting about what to do after establishing a choke hold on the computer industry, Gates' decision was also correct.

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@Justin Clements

I'm deeply cynical about companies matching employee donations or just giving to charities full stop, you can bet that if there wasn't a damn good way of clawing the donations back off the tax man or at least offsetting them against tax that the majority would stop it right away.

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FAIL

I think you have your Apples to Microsoft mixed. Microsoft gives nothing to charity. Bill Gates does to save his soul from hell. But everyone knows (except him) that money can not save you.

Microsoft - the danger is real. The Danger is Microsoft!

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The real charity starts with investing

Charities do far less good than businesses that create jobs. Investing in wealth creation and more jobs is more ethical than giving to charities.

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Immoral giving

I am deeply morally opposed to businesses giving to charity. The sweet goodness of capitalism is that it produces millions of times more help for mankind, poor or rich, than charity. Businesses should use their money to invest in themselves to produce jobs, growth, wealth and products that make peoples lives better. If they don't know how to do that, then they should go bankrupt and their assets go to other companies that do know how to make people's lives better.

Understand, please, that a business is a very fragile thing. Unless its customers like it and its products enough to buy, the business will go away in a very short time. Buy nothing from Apple and in a year or two, it will cease to exist, even with its nearly $100 billion nest egg.

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Anonymous Coward

Trolling much?

What has charity got to do with ethical treatment of employees in your supply-chain?

I think the idea is that you might give the employees a bit more than just enough to buy food. Invest in the the Chinese economy so that the people there can do more. Perhaps spend some time educating themselves rather than spending all day every day on the production line. Perhaps they could lend some of the wealth you have allocated to them to a nephew who has a bright idea for a new business in the local community.

Businesses concentrate wealth, they re-allocate it. It is people doing useful work who create it. All those billions apple has represent the work and wealth previously owned by apple customers. If they hadn't bought an iphone, they would probably have spent the cash on something else. Perhaps cinema tickets or fruit and veg. Just because apple has gained a large slice of the pie, doesn't make the pie bigger.

Any wealth apple has created comes from increased productivity of apple-phone users as compared to non-apple-phone users. Undoubtedly this has happened, but probably not to the extent indicated by Apple's bank balance.

Add to that the Western propensity to earn not from creating things, but from stopping people from using ideas or doing things and you have a very shaky economy indeed.

Don't confuse wealth-possession with wealth-creation.

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Anonymous Coward

Not true. If Apple ceased to generate any revenue, but continued at their current burn-rate as far as all running costs including R&D are concerned (which is ~ $8bn p/a), they'd happily exist for a good few years.

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Anonymous Coward

wealth creation...

... is the central delusion of capitalism. It's just not possible to create wealth, all you can do is take it from other people. Like you say, the pie doesn't get any bigger.

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Where else (other than China) can you get such a device made in such quantities?

You can't make such things without chemicals and producing pollution. We used to send people down underground in this country despite it causing them harm. Yet many say we shouldn't have killed off mining.

It's all very well saying make them in the USA, but there's nowhere that can make them in sufficient volume for the right sort of price. Unless of course you want a £2000 iPhone with a 2 year waiting list.

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Try Northern Europe...

My Nokia N8 was made in Salo, Finland, and is every bit as well made as its concurrent, the iPhone 4. The likes of iSuppli list the BOM costs for both devices as within $10 of each other, and the N8's sale price was pretty much in line with the iPhone's at launch (iPhone network-unlocked prices are loaded by Apple - a bit of comparison of price-plans will reveal that the networks get them for about €400 each).

Apple's laptops are made in China too, and have been for a decade. The only products they still make "in-house" are the some iMacs and some MacPros.

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Anonymous Coward

You probably mean...

... assembled in Finland from components made in China. Slightly better than made and assembled in China I suppose. Even if every component was made in Finland, it's more than likely that the raw materials - rare earth metals etc - came from the same war-torn parts of Africa where the mineral rights are literally fought over by opposing armed factions that routinely use mutilation and rape as instruments of war. There are very few - tending towards zero - ethically sound consumer electronics products on the market. What makes Apple's behaviour more obscene than most others is the the 70% profit margin - they really are cashing in on the misery of the workers in their supply-chain...

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@Kristian Walsh

Nokia is also a Foxconn customer as well.

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WTF?

And....

...when the next generation of Apple product is "ethical" enough for the SumOfUs collective, will they make the same stink with Asus, Acer, Dell or WalMart who all make use of Chinese production facilities?

Very doubtful as low hanging 'fruits' are always easy to pick..

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Anonymous Coward

Blinkered view

The problem with this petition - and similar calls - is that it gives the impression the problem is all about Apple. It's true that Apple is embroiled in it, but the truth is that we *all* are. A large proportion of the goods we buy are produced in similar (or worse) conditions.

We aren't going to change anything by pointing the finger at Apple. We might make it even worse if we direct our spending toward companies are less ethical than Apple (and there are many). It's not just the IT industry as a whole either - it's our whole political, economic, and social ethos. *Everyone* has to participate - every individual, company, and government around the world. Otherwise we allow the most unethical and hard-nosed companies to trash those who try to bring about change.

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so we just ignore the problem?

As one of the richest companies in the world, and highest profit margins per unit sold, Apple make a good place to start.

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

When the finger was pointed at Nike, it brought most of the rest of the (respectable) companies in the industry into line regarding child labour.

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Anonymous Coward

No scapegoats

@CollyWolly: "so we just ignore the problem? As one of the richest companies in the world, and highest profit margins per unit sold, Apple make a good place to start."

No - we need to do something that will genuinely improve the situation. What good will it too to take one successful company (and a reasonably ethical one at that) and trash them as a scapegoat? Any number of more ruthless firms will step into its place, and the situation will be worse. I'm amazed at the hypocrisy of the media - they have turned a blind eye to this problem for decades, but drag it out now again to pillory some company almost at random. But he media is locked into the same exploitation - no one is guiltless in this problem.

The truth is, most of our goods are produced by slave labour, and have been for a long time. That needs to end, and it takes *all* of us to do it. The laws that protect workers in the West need to be extended to *all* countries that produce goods for us, including fair wages and work conditions. Unless all countries sign up to this, we will simply enrich the most ruthless.

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And at the same time put a great many children on the street.

Gotta be careful when applying western values to poor countries, often the outcry will often do more harm than good.

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Anonymous Coward

Nike now uses prison labor earning under $0.5 per hour. Still at least it US prison labor so thats ok.

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Anonymous Coward

Prison labor is actual Slavery!

This is how insane "moral intervention" has become: people pulling themselves up by the shoe strings are accused of engaging in slave labor, yet the actual slaves forced to work in the prisons in the US are considered "better" solutions. Talk about upside down world!

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It's a dirty job

but someone's gotta do it.

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It was a reference to the sub-heading

Not a serious comment.

Note to self: References to mid-eighties alt-rock get downvoted.

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Vote with your feet

Want a more ethical phone, go buy a manufacturers who can show they are more ethical. Best way to hit a company is in the pocket surely?

Or is it, as I suspect, that all manufacturers behave as badly? Attacking Apple because they "make big profits" is not the point surely? All that will happen is that will push up the cost to other handset manufacturers who will simply buy from a different supplier who isnt as ethically managed?

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vote with your wallet

it's the only language they understand and for most of us it's the only way we can have any effect...

Of course if any one can suggest a better way to alter Apple's behaviour...

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