The Irony of “AppleCare”


The following headline appears on apple’s homepage about AppleCare:

“Service and Support from the People that Know your Apple Product Best”

Apple knows its products. It knows everything that goes into them and every little last spec about each and every product. As a company that is obsessed with detail and perfection, there is no doubt that they have their manufacturing process under a microscope. Apple knows every last detail about the manufacturing process and are aware of the conditions of the factories in China. “Siri” lets us know that. It knows exactly how and where it was manufactured however it chooses not to tell us. In fact “she” slams that “she” cannot tell us. Apple does not want to tell us what is going on behind the curtains. The workers in their factories are dying to have their voices heard and share their experiences, however, Apple and its manufacturers remain silent to the world. Apple has extremely high profit margins on its products. iPhones retail for $400-600 dollars while they only cost a fraction of that to make. iPhone 6 profit margins have been estimated around 70% by some sources. How can a company ethically charge this much to customers while it knows the conditions of its factories?

As much blame as we should put on Apple, we are also part of the problem. We let Apple do this by not caring either. Simply put, we have become unethical consumers because we are ignorant. In the modern world where so much information is available, we should be asking to see more of it. Where was this made? How much did this cost to make? What are the impacts that this product has on the world? What materials are in this? Who made this? – This are all questions we should ask every time we purchase something. We could be just as amazed by these answers just as Mr Daisy was about Apple. We as consumers have the greatest power to change the way many corporations work because we have the freedom to make choices. This power is only effective if we have the information to make a good choice. Without the information, we are blind consumers making bad choices everyday- and letting companies get away with it. We should be demanding a lot more of these answers and asking for companies to become more transparent. Just like the FDA requires food items to have nutrition facts, the government should at least explore extending this idea to show not only how products effects the environment, but also how they affect society. For example, an iPhone could be forced to say how many man hours it took to assemble this product and where it was manufactured. I have no idea how this can actually be measured but I think it is something that would help me be more aware of the impacts some products I buy have.

Having this information we can then make the right choice. We can ask ourselves if the iPhone or iPad we are about to take off the shelf is really worth the $599. Is it okay to have things such as iPads and iPhones at the expense of a persons mistreatment across the world? You are taking something away freedoms and rights from someone to give to me this product. Is that fair? I might be less likely to buy the product knowing this information. Or I could not care – like most people will. We usually don’t feel responsible as individual consumers for the negative impacts of these products. This is what needs to change. If everyone we start refusing to buy apple products (like that will ever happen), then maybe we as consumers can force apple to care about their manufacturing process.

I also want to point out that its not just Apple- Mr. Daisy listed close to half a dozen companies that also have their devices built in the same factory. Just a thought that we shouldn’t just be attacking Apple.

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2 thoughts on “The Irony of “AppleCare””

  1. I think that you make a very good point about the power of knowledge and how knowing something like the man hours in each iPhone would allow consumers to make well rounded decisions. However, do you think there might be more factors at play in our decision making process? For instance, cellular companies have made it increasingly difficult to own a phone that isn’t in the “smart” family. As consumers, it seems that we are to a certain extent forced into these purchasing decisions, with or without all the information. Additionally, you point out that we let Apple get away with this behavior by continuing to purchase their products, but as you say “it’s not just Apple.” Do you think there is a way for consumers to hold companies like Apple accountable? Do any other players in the technology industry need to bear some of the responsibility?

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  2. It would be interesting to see the government require a larger display about where a product is manufactured. The problem is, nearly every product would have the same sticker. So many products are made in China, especially electronics, that I think we would be completely numb to the warning almost immediately. I think that Apple has advertised so effectively in order to become a part of our culture that they have become nearly immune to scrutiny regarding their manufacturing processes.

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