We’ve written about numerous comparisons between the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5 in the past. These cover everything from hardware, user experience and even which tolerance tests. However there is something we’ve never explored before, what these products have been through before they land in your hands.
iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S3?
So many things that people rely on today come from China. This includes sports shoes, watches, laptops and handbags. A lot of these are made in factories where the workers are happy, while some of the items are made amid labour conditions that often ruin and even cost lives. We never know which.
Apple however have publicized their manufacturing process. According to Cupertino there is a meticulous process involved in making your Apple device. However China tells a different side to the story of how it involves child laborers, expectations that are impossible to meet and even management that has been called brutal. What’s worse about this is that people accept it. Years ago we would have been outraged by labor violations in China, so why not now? The question is when did owning a handset like the iPhone 5 worth people getting hurt?
The folks over at Gizmodo point out how times have apparently changed. Some decades back we would have been outraged and boycotted products. Products of the past such as Nike shoes and Gap jeans have flirted with this stigma and were classed by some as being tainted goods. Many Americans didn’t feel at ease walking around wearing clothing from what were classed as nothing but sweatshops. The thought of wearing something that came from a factory where children had lost appendages and women spent half the day in cramped bunkers at sewing machines was horrific. People turned their backs on these products and this made company’s change their ways.
In 1998 the New York Times reported on these issues saying that campaigns in the West had gained momentum over the past few years. Nike for example caved under this pressure and they had to agree to make changes in the labour practices at their factories. Nike rose the minimum age for work in their factories to 16 and outsiders were allowed in for inspections. They also improved their air filtration so as to meet the US factory standards.
Then Apple came along and they began churning out a product a status symbol by the name of the iPhone. This made Apple one of the riches companies in history. Now as pressure from labor conditions begin to arise and not a month goes by that manufacturers of Apple products come under scrutiny, you would think that Apple would do something. Instead we have now heard of strikes from manufacturers because the iPhone 5 has become one of the most difficult devices to assemble. As Gizmodo points out, a Foxconn executive said that practice makes perfect and perfection is what Apple and their customers expect.
However perfection comes at a cost. Practice in this case means overworked, underpaid and possibly underaged staff working to the point of breaking. China Labor Watch reported that often fights broke out between those working there, and employees went on full strike when producing the iPhone 5. Of course as you would expect Foxconn played this down. But what is interesting is that for once a single product has been called out as an issue. In the past Foxconn was criticized but they were making products for not only Apple but other tech giants like HP and Nintendo.
This week Apple announced the iPad Mini, which joins the iPhone 5 as kindling for the fire, as this too has the same perfectionist process when it comes to manufacturing. The design page for the new iPad says that it has edges that have been cut with mono-crystalline diamond and metallic finishes that are sleek, with the device having being designed to the highest of standards. What Apple should have said was that the device is complicated to make.
Perfection is standard for Apple and the millions of fans and this makes Apple a great deal of money each year. The iPhone 5 and iPad Mini may be dazzling products with a manufacturing process that can only be described as being dizzy and Apple are proud of this fact.
When you think about it, the biggest rivals to the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini are the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Google Nexus 7. Both these devices have been criticized for using plastics for the exterior body and not having the same polished finished as Apple products. However the both get the job done just as well as the iPad Mini and the iPhone 5. The Samsung Galaxy S3 for one is at the moment outselling the iPhone 5 and there are no records of a supply shortage anywhere in the world. The iPhone 5 on the other hand still has workers toiling to get enough units out, with many nations in Asia still waiting for a single iPhone 5 unit to arrive. One last point to note is that both Apple products retail for more than the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Google Nexus 7.