Above is a picture of all of the beloved Apple products that float around my apartment. Recently, there has been a lot of buzz in the media criticizing how Apple makes these goodies. Stories have been revealing the harsh working conditions where our shiny Apple products are made. Some people are comparing Apple to Nike of the 1990’s. Can Apple still deliver the products we love at competitive prices while using fair labor?
There seems to be some irony in this whole mess. Apple had a wildly successful ad campaign that compared the once uniform tech culture to Geroge Orwell’s “1984.” The dramatic commercial told the world that Apple was different from the monotonous, monsters that were PC computers. In this commercial, there was a harsh structure, an army of people marching in unison, until a woman (Apple) came in and broke the mold. And while our Apple products have certainly delivered in being a preferred alternative to the PC world, it has been built on the backs of the very people Apple claimed to be different from.
I think there is great opportunity here.
Perhaps Apple will extend its “think different” approach to its manufacturing process. Maybe they can be the pioneers of developing an economically feasible way to build their products right here in the States. Apple can revolutionize manufacturing (much like Henry Ford did with the introduction of the assembly line) with a departure from the labor-intensive, hundred-year-old process.
People are hungry for manufacturing jobs right here at home. If Apple can figure out how to package FaceTime, an mp3 player, and web-browser into a tiny sliver of aluminum, then certainly they can design there own, humane manufacturing process that doesn’t break the bank. If there is any company that can figure out how to produce its shiny products with moral fiber, I would put my money on Apple.