An Inside Look at How iPads Are Assembled and Tested

Rob Schmitz of public radio show Marketplace played a key role in debunking a number of Mike Daisey's claims about his trip to China to see working conditions at Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn. As part of his investigation, Schmitz tracked down Daisey's translator and learned that a number of the experiences Daisey related as part of his "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" theater monologue never happened.

ipad assembly foxconn
Foxconn workers assembling iPads (Rob Schmitz/Marketplace)

Following his exposure of Daisey's fabrications, Schmitz has been given access to Foxconn's plants, and he has been filing some reports about what he has seen in those facilities. Among the most interesting contributions is a brief video posted yesterday showing for the first time several of the steps in assembling and testing an iPad.


Marketplace has aired a number of segments interviewing Schmitz about his visits to Foxconn's plants, where has described working conditions and talked with workers about their experiences. Many note that the work is boring and repetitive and that they are sometimes treated like machines, but most seem to acknowledge that Foxconn offers better opportunities than many of the other factories.

Top Rated Comments

imgonephishin Avatar
128 months ago
Interesting analysis and I think it's so important to compare apples to apples (wages at Foxconn vs. other Chinese factories). Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) is an important concept that a simple number like "$14/day" just can't capture.

The biggest thing that surprises me is that almost every article about Foxconn fails to mention that Apple is just one of dozens of major companies that contracts with Foxconn. I recognize Apple is the biggest and with being the big dog comes a lot of scrutiny and attention, but how about some attention for any of these companies? A huge number of non-Apple consumer electronics that we use on a daily basis are manufactured there. Every heard of these prominent Foxconn customers?

* Acer
* Amazon.com
* Cisco
* Dell
* Hewlett-Packard
* Intel
* Microsoft
* Motorola Mobility
* Nintendo
* Nokia
* Samsung Electronics
* Sony
* Toshiba
* Vizio
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
erann Avatar
128 months ago
Many note that the work is boring and repetitive and that they are sometimes treated like machines

What's the news here? I have worked in factories in Scandinavia and the work was boring and repetetive and workes were constantly treated like machines. That's what factory work is everywhere. And compared to the cost of living, the salary was exactly the same the Foxconn workers have.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stouver Avatar
128 months ago
Is it more shocking they only make 14 dollars a day or that 14 dollars a day is actually concidered a good wage for Asian factory workers?

Whether it is right or wrong is one thing but it shouldn't be compared to the "American Way"
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
notabadname Avatar
128 months ago
Value of money

People always make incorrect blanket statements about Chinese salaries though. I doubt many people on this site have been to China, where the average meal can easily be had for the equivalent $1 at local restaurants. There are plenty of jobs in the US that make relatively the same, with lesser working conditions. A min-wage US worker is no more able to afford meals and housing and healthcare than a worker in China.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Caliber26 Avatar
128 months ago
Anytime I hear about the sacrifices some of these people make, just to earn a few bucks a day, it makes me realize how much I take for granted and that I live a very blessed life. It also makes me appreciate my iPad in a whole different way.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Robin4 Avatar
128 months ago
What I would like to know is their standard of living expenses. If the average monthly rent is $50.00/mo, then $14.00 a day may be a decent rate of pay.

We don't know enough to assume it is exploitation.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time [Updated]

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
iPad Air Feature 2 green

New Apple Products Filed in Regulatory Database, Likely Including New iPhone SE and iPad Air

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today filed unreleased iPhone and iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, as spotted by French blog Consomac. The filings likely represent the rumored third-generation iPhone SE, fifth-generation iPad Air, and potentially more. The unreleased iPhone models have the identifiers A2595, A2783, and A2784, while the unreleased iPad models have the identifiers A2588, A2589, ...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
iphone 5g mmwave

U.S. Airlines Warn of 'Catastrophic' Crisis With Impending 5G Rollout, AT&T and Verizon Agree to Delay Around Airports

Tuesday January 18, 2022 10:35 am PST by
Verizon and AT&T's upcoming rollout of new C-Band 5G technology could cause chaos and lead to widespread delays of passenger and cargo flights, major U.S. airlines said on Monday in a letter sent to the White House National Economic Council, the FAA, and the FCC (via Reuters). "Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially...
iphone se 2020 top

iPhone SE With Larger 5.7-Inch Display May Launch in 2023, 'iPhone SE+ 5G' Also Rumored

Monday January 17, 2022 6:46 am PST by
Apple is planning to release a fourth-generation iPhone SE with a larger 5.7-inch display as early as 2023, according to display industry consultant Ross Young, who has proven to be a reliable source of information for future Apple products. The fourth-generation iPhone SE has until now been rumored to launch in 2024, but Young now says a 2023 release is looking more likely....
tesla carplay solution

Developer Showcases Apple CarPlay Workaround for Teslas

Monday January 17, 2022 7:24 am PST by
A Tesla Model 3 owner has resorted to a workaround to implement Apple CarPlay in his vehicle, amid no sign of official support from Tesla (via Tesla North). Apple CarPlay and Apple Music support are among the most-requested Tesla features, but with no indication that Tesla is willing to implement Apple CarPlay in its vehicles, Polish developer Michał Gapiński took matters into his own...
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...