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iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending Feb. 2

John Cox | Feb. 3, 2012
That noise echoing through the iOSsphere is the sound of Chinese workers clamoring to be allowed to build the Next iPhone.

That noise echoing through the iOSsphere is the sound of Chinese workers clamoring to be allowed to build the Next iPhone.

This week: If they build it, we will buy it; the inexplicable lure of Near Field Communications; pray for shared data plans; and why Apple keeps flaws in the iPhone.

You read it here second.

___________

"The lesson here is that you shouldn't always trust Apple rumors, even if they come from somebody at Apple."

~Keith Wagstaff, Time's Techland blog, helpfully cautioning us after he learned of Apple's practice of assigning newly hired engineers to dummy projects until they've been inculcated with the Apple Way; but unhelpfully, not telling us when we should trust Apple rumors.

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Chinese workers flock to build iPhone 5

Actually, they're probably just flocking for jobs, because Foxconn, the prime manufacturer for iPhone, plans to add 100,000 jobs in Zhengzhou, in north-central China, according to a post at M.I.C. Gadget, which had an English report, and photos, of the long lines of applicants waiting for hours outside an employment agency screening for Foxconn.

But the iOSsphere, linking to that post, quickly re-interpreted it, making it all about the iPhone.

"Even as the protests against Apple's workers mistreatment practice are surging incessantly, there are still thousands of Chinese job seekers who are lining up in front of the gates of Foxconn, the company's major product manufacturer in China, hoping that they will be hired to work on iPhone 5 production," posted Wendy Li, for International Business Times. The headline: "iPhone 5 Production Set to Begin: Numerous Chinese Job Seekers Line up in Front of Foxconn Doors"

Ms. Li didn't pull any punches: "Although Foxconn is best known for its harsh working conditions, long hours, child labor, and lack of respecting workers' rights, the long lines prove the 'hell factory' is better than other alternatives for many Chinese."

But it turns out she was stealing punches, almost word for word, from a post by The Atlantic Wire's Rebecca Greenfield: "All the media coverage of Foxconn, with its harsh working conditions, long hours, child labor, and lack of workers' rights, might make it hard to believe the demand for these jobs."

Three years of the Obama Hope and Change Economy in the U.S. might make it much less hard to believe. Greenfield adds this gem from Nobel-Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman who "noted way back in the '90s, these factories 'are a big improvement over the previous, less visible rural poverty,' he wrote in an early Slate piece. Industrialization, hardships included, is a necessary step toward modernity, the argument goes."

We're all for making sacrifices. As long as it's someone else making them.

 

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