Leak Exposes Apple Human Rights Abuses and OMG New iPhone 5 Details!

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 29 2013 7:44 PM

Leak Exposes Awesome iPhone 5 Details, and Also Some Human Rights Abuses or Something

Workers in China who would probably get that awesome new iPhone 5C done a lot quicker if they'd stop whining about the working conditions.
Workers in China who would probably get that new iPhone 5C done a lot quicker if they'd stop whining about the working conditions.

Screenshot / YouTube

So apparently there were some human rights abuses or something, and they involved Apple, and I think they were like in China. Whatever, the important thing is that the leak revealed some really exciting new details about the iPhone 5! The full report is here and there was some early coverage by some MSM dinosaurs like the Wall Street Journal, but honestly it’s a little boring and complicated and sort of misses the point. Like, the Journal article doesn’t even mention what colors the new phone is going to come in. Or maybe it does, but tl:dr, amirite?

Will Oremus Will Oremus

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

Anyway, thank God for the tech blogs, because they really jumped all over this report, and thanks to them we know now all kinds of new dirt about what Apple’s really doing over there. Serious props to ComputerWorld for being the first to uncover the real story behind all the jargon about safety and environmental violations and underage workers and forced overtime. (Probably a bunch of whining by unions, I’m guessing. See, this is why labor unions and Silicon Valley aren’t friends.) Anyway, I’ve taken the trouble to round up some of the best tech-blog coverage of this huge story from around the Web. If you run across any good tidbits that I missed, shout ‘em out in the comments or holler at me on Twitter, k? Peace!

Apple's future plan to introduce a plastic iPhone is confirmed within this morning's shocking report into labor abuses at manufacturing partner, Pegatron. As part of the investigation, China Labor Watch inserted people inside three of Pegatron's factories. In one of these reports it confirms the future debut of a plastic iPhone:
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 report explains. Pegatron's CEO last month also confirmed moves toward a lower cost iPhone, warning these devices would not be cheap.
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Day-in-the-life pieces are often aggregated descriptions based on interviews with a number of different workers, rather than direct quotes from a single individual, but the “today’s work is to paste protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover” quote is pretty specific. Coupled with the background quote, we tend to believe that the phone (perhaps to be called the 5C) is indeed plastic.
The details also come as an image published over the weekend claimed to show the retail packaging for a product called the "iPhone 5C." Some have speculated that the "C," if the name is accurate, could refer to "color," as the device is expected to come in a range of colors.
China Labor Watch and other groups consistently try to draw attention to working conditions in the country, often using Apple as a particularly high-profile example. Ironically, this report may be its biggest attention draw yet, since it features solid information about an unreleased product that many investors and consumers are watching in the West with bated breath.

Is that ironic? I guess it is! You know what’s really ironic, though? Those guys at China Labor Watch totally scooped TechCrunch and AllThingsD and everybody else on this one, but they still only have a Klout score of 42. Here's a #protip, China Labor Watch: Next time, don’t bury the lede.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.