While rumors of the newest iPhone will swirl right up until the big reveal, and analysts have gotten very good at spotting Apple’s moves over the years, it’s rare that we truly know what Apple is dropping until it arrives. And that’s no coincidence. A journalist who went undercover to research working conditions at Apple’s factory shed light on just what goes into protecting Apple’s golden goose, including preventing female workers from wearing certain types of bras. Wait, what?
Dejian Zeng spent last summer at a Pegatron factory, building the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 7, as part of an analysis of labor conditions. He also observed just what went into joining the assembly line for the iPhone 7, and it got more than a little paranoid. The iPhone 7 assembly line was kept hidden with a giant curtain until it was ready to roll and employees were actually moved out of the building to complete work on the iPhone 6 in a sub-factory while the finishing touches were put on the line that would soon be brimming with the latest phone.
Once the workers came back, the usual security measures of metal detectors, key cards, and facial recognition software to identify people were redoubled. Hence Apple’s bra troubles — even the thin wires in brassieres would set off the sensitive detectors. In fact, no metal, of any kind, was allowed on the floor unless it was in an iPhone. While managers were allowed to bring their phones in, Zeng noted they had to prove, every time they left, that they hadn’t swapped out their phones with a new iPhone. And if that weren’t enough, Apple had employees on site watching everyone like hawks.
That said, Zeng noted there were things that Apple simply couldn’t hide. Workers could easily see and remember that the iPhone 7 had two cameras and that it lacked a headphone jack. He also noted that two precision jobs were held by robots, and that he believed the only reason robots weren’t doing all of it was that humans were still cheaper, if not in China then in other countries. Which means we may see a full robot assembly line by the time the iPhone 9 is ready to ship.
(Via Business Insider)