Just How All American a Company is Apple Anyway?
Zillions of yuppies and guppies sleep outside their local Apple store every time the company farts out a new product or version of iPhone. (Its Dick Tracy watch was a flop. If you’re too young to know who I’m talking about, Dick Tracy was a popular cartoon detective of the 40’s and 50’s and something of a techie, who wore a wrist watch you could communicate with with both voice and pictures.)
But just how All American is Apple?
Tom Clark, its CEO, seems to be channeling Steve Jobs’ hutzpah, or maybe his tight-assed queen persona is coming out (I’m queer so I can say it) when he refuses to un-encrypt a phone used by a known terrorist/killer in the recent California massacre who no doubt was in touch with many very bad guys and gals. Clark’s justification, and those of Apple’s attorneys, that it would wreck the company’s entire encryption platform for everyone, is fucken ridiculous.
Actually, this is not an isolated case: local law enforcement across the country is looking for Apple to open many other locked phones tied to ungodly crimes but as with the high profile federal case, Apple’s answer is a uniform NO.
But that’s not the only reason I feel the Golden Apple has had a free ride for too long.
While maintaining only 10% of the global smartphone market, Apple generates over half its profits on iphones, selling as much as $600 and up. Materials average under $200, and all the assembly is done not here where it would generate jobs for Americans but in in places like China where workers earn under two bucks an hour and are treated like shit by Apple contractors. In the end, labor costs for a single phone come to about thirty bucks, just 2 to 5% of Apple’s sale price. Manufacturing an iPhone in the United States would cost about $65 more than in China, but no doubt their profit margin would still be huge.
Supporters of Apple’ stance say most of the components that go into Apple products are now manufactured in China, which would mean having to transport all that stuff to the states. So, can’t Apple just establish such a supply chain here and again give Americans jobs?
Critics of bringing the assembly back here also point out there aren’t enough low end U.S. workers. Bullshit. Ask the folks who live in the boonies where Walmart is or maybe was the only employer (the department store chain just closed 150 stores, many in Small Town America).
In a more localized effect, there’s also the Silicon Valley factor driving up rentals in places like San Francisco, pushing the average middle classer and creative types out of the city. Because companies like Apple bus their employees back and forth to work (Silicon Valley is only a half hour away) and these employees are making crazy salaries, the landlords in the City By the Bay are just taking advantage of the good old supply and demand principle in a town already tight on housing by raising rents to the stratosphere – and getting them. Like over three grand for a studio or over four grand for a one bedroom. If this continues San Francisco may become a town of techie nerds who in the end may kill the very cosmopolitan character that made SF desirable to them in the first place.
So just how All American is Apple?
You tell me.
Or maybe the crippled Supreme Court or the fucked-up Congress which supposedly is in bed with Apple will decide on the encryption issue and do the talking for all of us.