The iPhone, Foxconn and Me

A couple of years ago, I got a new phone. I have to admit I did not prepare myself before I went to the store and inquired about an upgrade. Because of that, I allowed the sales rep to talk me into a huge piece of crap called the KIN 2M. The KIN 2M was one of the first Windows phones on the market (yeah, see the problem?) and it didn’t do very well. To say that it had issues is putting it mildly. Sales for the original phone were so slow that Microsoft (the manufacturer) stopped production after just 48 days. About 6 months later, they released it as a “feature” phone on Verizon, meaning it didn’t require a data plan. That’s the one I got stuck with. Reliability is iffy (I’m on my third phone while other people haven’t had a problem) and there are no apps, no accessories, nothing. You can’t even use Verizon’s backup manager to transfer contacts, that can only be done in the store. I went into all this to say that I’ve stuck it out and I finally have an upgrade. Which means I can afford a new phone. Yay!

So, it was time to get a new phone and, this time, I armed myself with all the pertinent information. Now, anybody that knows me knows I haven’t drank the Apple flavored Koolaid yet, so an iPhone wasn’t on my radar when I started researching. In fact, I didn’t even consider one until the sales rep pointed out some pretty neat features. But, determined not to get suckered again, I resisted his pitch and went home to get educated. I found out a few things about the iPhone that are less than perfect. Things like they don’t support Adobe Flash, so content embedded on a website using that platform won’t show up. Also, the iPhone isn’t 4G which means it isn’t as fast as some other smartphones. Oh, and they’re also made in China in a factory where the working conditions are so bad the owners had to put up nets to catch people jumping out windows to commit suicide. Wow.

I find myself on the horns of a dilemma. Do I follow my conscience and not buy the iPhone and thus not be a party to forcing people to work 16 hour shifts, 6 days a week in conditions so bad death is a better choice? Or, do I forget all that and buy a really neat phone that does all kinds of cool stuff? Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Maybe and maybe not. Before you get on your high horse and start berating Apple with kind of ire usually reserved for Wal-Mart, you might want to look at who made some of the other electronics in your household. Got a Kindle? I do, and I wasn’t thrilled to find out it was made by Foxconn. So are the X-box, the Wii and the Playstation 3. So, who’s responsible here, Foxconn, Apple…, or us?

I’m betting the stories about Foxconn haven’t affected Apple’s sales figures much, if at all. But, they should. Our desire for quickest, newest, niftiest gadget for the lowest possible price shouldn’t outweigh our desire to help our fellow man. Especially when our fellow man is taking up the slack. Looks like I’m not getting an iPhone this time around.