Apple’s twin cash cows – the iPhone and the iPad – are mowing down the competition at the moment but the profit comes at a cost.
The New York Times this week raises the issue in a couple of reports ("How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work," "In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad"). Churning out iPhones and iPads at the Foxconn plants in China is a lot cheaper than bringing the work back to the US in order to fill the ever increasing appetite of gadget hungry consumers.
The thing to remember is that the innovators are still firmly based in Cupertino, California and unsurprisingly they are the ones making the money.
This infographic, courtesy of innovationnewsdaily.com, highlights just how big the gap is between US profits and the labor costs in the value chain for the popular devices.
In Apple’s defence, it isn’t the only tech giant using the same tactics to maximise profit and Apple has in recent times made a bigger push to ensure that there was some sort of code of safety at the facilities.
But making real change is difficult not because it might put innovation at risk but rather disrupt the existing dynamics between the company and its suppliers. The fact is the system works and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.