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Pegatron Employee Describes Role in Producing Apple's Lower-Cost Plastic iPhone

Earlier today, labor rights group China Labor Watch issued a report making claims of poor working conditions at Apple's assembly partner Pegatron. As pointed out by Computerworld, the 60-page report (PDF) confirms that Apple is working on production of a plastic iPhone, a device that has been rumored for some time and seen in a number of recent part leaks.

iPhone-Plastique-Couleurs-Photo
Photo of alleged lower-cost plastic iPhone rear shells in multiple colors

A section of the report entitled "July 9, 2013: A day in Pegatron" includes a paragraph on page 28 in which a worker describes his or her role in applying protective film to the rear shell of the device before the part enters the assembly process.
Today’s work is to paste protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines. This iPhone model with a plastic cover will soon be released on the market by Apple. The task is pretty easy, and I was able to work independently after a five-minute instruction from a veteran employee. It took around a minute to paste protective film on one rear cover. The new cell phone has not yet been put into mass production, so quantity is not as important. This makes our job more slow paced than in departments that have begun mass production schedules.
Pegatron had previously been reported as Apple's manufacturing partner for the lower-cost plastic iPhone, which is rumored to be launching later this year alongside the iPhone 5S. The firm has long been an assembly partner for Apple, although it has been overshadowed by the much larger Foxconn. Pegatron has, however, been growing rapidly as Apple has been seeking to balance and expand its supply chain to provide more stability and flexibility.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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15 months ago
New Entry for July 29, 2013:

Today I was fired for talking about unreleased products.

- Former Pegatron employee
Rating: 37 Votes
15 months ago

Call me pathetic, but this thing looks [C]heap and [C]hildish, Steve would have never...


Yes, Steve would have never approved such a silly product...



:D
Rating: 28 Votes
15 months ago
The important thing: poor working conditions exist where iPhones are being manufactured and workers may be suffering.

What people actually care about: OMG THERE'S DEFINITELY A PLASTIC IPHONE COMING OUT.

:rolleyes:
Rating: 23 Votes
15 months ago

Let's hope that worker's identity is kept anonymous. There is a lot of pressure put on these poor employees.

But if this is legitimate it pretty much confirms the so-called iPhone 5C.


Poor employees? You realize these people choose to work at Pegatron, right? It's not as if they're being held against their will. They can work there and if they don't like it, there are thousands of other factories in the region that are hiring. The moralizing by these labor rights groups is, on the one hand, admirable, but on the other, horribly ignorant of the realities of life in emerging economies.
Rating: 14 Votes
15 months ago
Such a crazy headline... in other words:

"In a report containing claims of 70-hr work weeks & poor working conditions of workers, fat westerners may save a few bucks on their 8th iPhone."
Rating: 12 Votes
15 months ago
Doesn't seem like such a terrible job for someone who likely has a limited skill set.
Rating: 10 Votes
15 months ago

Seems kinda weird that they are putting on the plastic by hand and it takes a minute. That's only 60 iPhones per employee per minute.

You would think something like this would be done by machine (the protective film).


Do you understand manufacturing, and how costly it is to design, build and run a machine designed to do only a single task that you could teach a poor young Chinese kid to do in five minutes and pay him pennies on the hour to do it 12 hours a day?

There's a reason why China is a manufacturing economy and the grand majority of everything you own was made there.
Rating: 9 Votes
15 months ago

Call me pathetic, but this thing looks [C]heap and [C]hildish, Steve would have never...


I've had a brief look over your previous posts and you do come across as extremely cynical.

And nay I request you stop with the 'Steve would never have ...' posts. They're just insulting at this point.
Rating: 8 Votes
15 months ago

Poor employees? You realize these people choose to work at Pegatron, right? It's not as if they're being held against their will. They can work there and if they don't like it, there are thousands of other factories in the region that are hiring. The moralizing by these labor rights groups is, on the one hand, admirable, but on the other, horribly ignorant of the realities of life in emerging economies.


I understand your point. But it's hard not to have empathy for an individual employee.
Rating: 8 Votes
15 months ago
I don't know why everybody is always hating on the plastic. It's honestly a more suitable material for a phone. A device that is always being dropped, scratched, etc. Plus the fact that majority of people (based on personal observation) use a case anyway. And now you also get to throw your own personalized color, without needing to buy a case? Oh and also can make the device up to $100 cheaper? Where do I sign?
Rating: 6 Votes

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