By: Revanche

Not that I’m advocating for the iPad

May 27, 2010

But plenty of companies, including Financial Times, clearly are. That includes my own which has had the benefit of an app developer offer his services free to develop a limited service app distributing company content. It’s kind of neat.  I know at least three people I work with who now own the iPad and they love the gadgets for the techy coolth and the entertainment value, but not so much (or at all) for work or truly functional purposes.

I remain a fan of a tactile keyboard and a screen that closes over the keyboard. I’m simply too much a klutz, and not appreciative enough of the touchscreen for more than recreational purposes, to spend my money on the latest and greatest toy from the Jobs Empire. 

Speaking of Apple, I can’t help but associate it with this macabre story about the tenth (at least) suicide at a Foxconn building in Shenzhen just after the company’s chairman’s visit about the previous suicides.  While Apple’s not directly responsible, I’d consider it their duty to do more than simply “look into” Foxconn’s working conditions as a major client of this company.

7 Responses to “Not that I’m advocating for the iPad”

  1. Twenty-three years old? Twenty-five? And they’re jumping off buildings and slashing their wrists? What kind of abuse is going on it that place?

    Don’t know that this is Apple’s responsibility. But it is disturbing. Very disturbing.

  2. 1. For me, Apple products, including their laptops are #1 for entertainment, fun, and light stuff.

    Their iPod, iPod, Shuffle.. all that stuff is a lot of fun, but it isn’t practical for me, in terms of business & the “ugly” side of computing.

    But I ALWAYS go back to my PC to get Excel and Word processing done. It’s not that I can’t get those programs on the Mac, but I work much faster & cleaner when I am on a PC, than on a Mac, because I know the shortcuts & the excel shortcuts on the Mac are not the same.

    2. I am NOT a fan of onscreen keyboards. I mean.. I really hate them. And when I see companies coming out with keyboards to use with the ipad, I think: “WTF? I thought the whole point was to NOT have a keyboard. Why don’t you just buy a laptop or a netbook?”

    3. That story about Foxconn is just an example of how Apple is in a bit of denial. The pressure to get products out on time is really high & stressful, yes, but I’ve never heard any of my friends committing suicide because they misplaced something, or missed a deadline.

    Apple can just say: We’re a company, it’s not our business.. we can look into it, but they’re just a vendor…

    But the choices that even we make as individuals — trying to avoid plastic, buying from independents, paying a higher price.. that’s the same kind of attitude companies should try and adopt.

    Yet, as a capitalist, I understand the push and pull of making profits to grow & to beat estimates, so.. it’s not an easy line to walk, but I think as you’ve said, Apple could do a lot more than look into it.

  3. Are we all–as buyers of increasingly cheap tech products–complicit in those suicides? Did anything happen as a result of the Nike sweatshop exposes of a few years back?

    I compare the lives of those workers to my own…

    Thanks for bringing it up.

  4. Jenna says:

    That is so sad to hear about the recent deaths in China.

    Not going to lie, I still want an iPad. Maybe I can talk my boss into getting one for research.

  5. Jersey Mom says:

    I think eventually I’d like to get an iPad. Probably now right now but perhaps when the 2nd generation comes out with the bugs all worked out.

    I have read the news regarding Foxconn’s employees who have committed suicide. I don’t see what it had to do with Apple. Foxconn should look into it; the managers probably are verbally abusive and aren’t treating their employees right.

    Also, suicide is contagious – some study has been done on that as well.

  6. I’m not a big fan of screen keyboards, but this does look really cool. Still will probably never get one, a netbook seems more practical for me and what I want it to do (and cheaper!).

    I’m don’t think that Apple or another party is directly responsible for what Foxxcon does, however, all of us who support Apple, Dell, PC, etc, are also indirectly responsible, and the companies themselves, are all indirectly responsible.

    Consumers want these products and we are only willing to pay so much, and wait so long for them. It’s what pushes Dell, Apple, etc. to push their vendors.

  7. Revanche says:

    @FaM: I have no idea, but it can’t be a coincidence.

    To my mind, it’s a moral responsibility to make choices about patronizing a supplier wherein this sort of thing happens – whatever the problem is, it should be addressed and not just accepted as business as usual by the clients.

    @FB: #3: yes, exactly.

    @FrugalScholar: And you’re right, it does trickle down to the consumer as well, right? I know that people don’t feel any responsibility but I personally don’t feel comfortable supporting, indirectly, the situation with my money.

    At the same time, there’s that argument about how not patronizing the sweatshops doesn’t solve the inherent problem that applies.

    @Jenna: The product and the background are easily separable, especially at our remove. I don’t see anyone opting out of buying Apple because of the deaths.

    @Jersey Mom: I’ll admit I targeted Apple a bit just because that was my mental link but I think all the companies that patronize Foxconn have a responsibility to hire out their work to companies with humane business practices. If not them, then who?

    @aspiringminimalist: At the end of the day, I hate that money and morality are balanced the way they are. ie: Morality pretty much NEVER trumps money.

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