To honour the 10th anniversary of the smartphone that changed everything, I forced myself to read the entirety of Brian Merchant’s The One Device. It’s definitely meant for Apple fans, and seems at times to be set in a fictitious world where Android doesn’t even exist.
To be fair, one of the chapters where Android is actually acknowledged turned out to be the most illuminating one, at least for me. The author visits the infamous Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China, where a surprisingly candid employee had this to say about the local job market:
“I was tricked to work for Foxconn,” a new recruit says. “I intended to work for Huawei,” he adds, referring to the Chinese smartphone competitor. “People feel way better working for Huawei, better corporate culture, more comfortable.” In fact, he says, “Everyone has the idea of working in Foxconn for one year and getting out of the factory and going to work for Huawei.”
So congratulations to any Huawei owners reading this; you can rest easy with the knowledge that the people who built your device were treated well while making it. And if you were wondering about that other big smartphone OEM, later in the same chapter a Foxconn higher-up had this to say:
“I had a meeting with Samsung executives and they said they would just follow Apple […] That’s what they told us—they would do whatever Apple did.”
So what exactly does Apple do? If you’re not familiar with Cupertino’s decidedly hands-off approach to manufacturing, check out my Christmas Downer post from 2014.