After reading the article I was shocked about the working conditions of Apple’s employees and felt a great deal of guilt for owning an iPod (which I did not buy myself). I asked myself a number of questions whilst and after reading it; why are people not aware of the working conditions? How can people allow their employees to work like that? Why do Apple, such a large company, allow this to happen?
Upon looking at the Apple website, I was unable to find any information about the conditions their factory workers have to put up with. Unfortunately for them, they cannot just stop working there and go somewhere else, as the likelyhood is that this is the only job they will be able to get. The BBC, Guardian and Daily Mail have all produced articles explaining the exploitation of Apple’s factory workers, including images and graphs to add to the shock.
Our tutor began the session by asking us who owns an iPad.The two people in the class that said they did were then asked why they bought the product. One said that she had an Apple mac and found that it was too heavy to take to work every day, so the iPad was much more convenient. She also thought that they would be able to link together, as Apple devices do not link with other branded devices. The other student said that it was the advertising that drew her in. It was a new gadget and she wanted to try it. He then asked the whole class who owns an Apple product and shockingly the whole class did. We discussed how we felt about the fact that we all owned products that are being made by workers in terrible conditions. Many of us felt tricked and misled. Apple’s advertisements seem so innocent and exciting, often using bright and colourful images which catch your eye, making you want to buy the product.
The way that this image was constructed would have had a lot of thought put into it. Everything from where the girl is holding the iPad to her bracelet. The girl who is of a mixed-race background which is suggested by her colouring and facial structure, adds diversity to the company showing that the Apple consumer is not just in California but worldwide. She looks comfortable because she is laid in bed and pure because of her white dress. By having a colourful bracelet you recognise that she is a child and is innocent. The iPad is the only form of light and is held above her head in the place where a sky light would be. As Williamson says “we are witnessing a scene of annunciation – she is being touched by something ethereal, even godly”. She continues to say that the illumination is entering her.
“Designed by Apple in California” has been carefully written. The words which are important have been written with a capital letter to make them stand out. By choosing to state where their products are designed rather than made makes you think the company is more glamorous. When you think of California you think about the sun, rich, beaches, bright and colourful. Whereas is it said ‘Made in East Asia’ you may not feel as inclined to buy it.
The text on the image is in the font Apple use and in white to make it stand out and again seem ‘pure’. It is written with a very short sentence almost on each line. It turns the iPad into a living being by saying “Does it deserve to exist”. Williamson has said in the text “the product has gained a moral life, while its producers have disappeared from discourse entirely”. This powerful sentence shows just how much the workers are belittled in this world. At times, Williamson has a very sarcastic tone calling the writing a ” ‘poem’ ” (with the inverted commas).
Some people buy Apple products because they are easy, others because they want all their gadgets to link together, and others simply because they can afford to have every new version of a product. Not just one person can stop this problem, its something we would have to do globally and it is not very likely people would stop buying these products, even if they knew they shouldn’t.
Unfortunately, because of my job (dance teacher) and the convenice of using an iPod for it, I have to say that I would buy another. It is the best product for organising and playing music as it is easy to use, small to take around, can film things and has a large amount of memory. However, I think that this has put me off of buying any other Apple products… I would like to think that anyway.
- Source Magazine, Autumn 2013, Issue 76