I don’t think I need to offer a preamble, but I wanted to publish my thoughts so bear with me. Like many others, I rushed to purchase the iPhone 6, checking in via Swarm, tweeting my purchase and all-in-all genuinely excited at the prospects of upgrading my current device to all that the 4.7″ 6 had to offer. My Verizon salesman high fived me on my way out the door, reminding me to come back on the 19th to pick up my new smartphone.
And then I canceled the order. Because, humanity.
Yesterday a smattering of reports out of China told of a cluster of young Foxconn workers – the factory where the millions of iPhone 6’s are made – all dying from leukemia. All working in the same factory. Coincidence? Their families and labor welfare groups believe the leukemia was caused by exposure to the potentially toxic chemicals, benzene and n-hexane in the final assembly of iPhones and iPads where they where used to clean electrical panels. Apple announced it was banning the chemicals last month though the plant insists they haven’t been used for years.
According to a report from Daily Mail, the young workers who fell sick were “dismissed and denied continuing medical coverage, bankrupting families as they desperately pay for treatment.” Sadly this isn’t the first offense for Foxconn. It’s one of many that have been reported over the last seven years. From poor working conditions to forced labors to worker suicides, the list of violations would leave even the worst American corporations blushing.
And that’s where it ends. I can’t in good conscience purchase a product that is manufactured in a way that spits in the face of human rights. I love Apple. I loved the event last week, including the awkward Chinese voice over and the challenges they had live streaming it. It was almost endearing to know that not everything produced in Cupertino had to be perfect.
To err is to be human, a trait met with compassion by many. So it troubles me that a company that prides itself on connecting humans through technology treats those who build their products less than human. There are options that I’ll research,
but the excellent MotoX is made in America and costs approximately $4.00 more per device than a phone made overseas, in plants that respect their workers. I’m not shutting the door on Apple. But in the near future, I won’t support their products until concerted efforts are taken to change.
Apple taught us to think different. Today I decided to act different instead.
“iPhone 5C is beautifully, unapologetically plastic. Multiple parts have been reduced to a single polycarbonate component whose service is continuous and seamless.” – Jony Ivey, Apple
I’ve been obsessing over that quote since it entered into mainstream discussions amongst marketers, PR practitioners and consumers alike. Weeks later, during the debates between analysts as to whether the 5C is a failure (It’s far from being a flop.), a sliver of insight seems to have been lost on everyone: Apple’s ushering in what I’m deeming “The Age of Unapologism”.
Since Jony Ivey’s famous on-camera proclamation that plastic is sexy, there’s been a subtle paradigm shift in how brands are beginning to approach the positioning of their products to the public. After years of agency strategists encouraging brands to “co-create products with your greatest advocates” it seems as though brands are taking their power back without remorse. In a sense, I’ve relieved.
Like Social Media, This is Nothing New
Apple’s decision to take a stand with the 5C harkens back to marketing in the 90’s where brands would offer a market-led, superior value position to their customers. It’s hard to believe but one of the prime pillars of brand-to-consumer communication 20 years ago centered around quality, and with good reason. Quality is a “…concept laden with emotion, relating strongly to personal feelings of success, failure, self-esteem and meeting others expectations.”
When focusing on improving quality, such as in Ivey’s description of the 5C, it stimulates powerful positive feelings when it is associated with change, innovation, new possibilities, opportunity and break-through.
Admittedly, not every brand is Apple. But brands that have shied away in recent years from the very attributes they’ve built their reputations on, are hitting the reset button and embracing what they’re known best for.
Social Media forced brands to find their conscience. Unapologism will force brands to find their hearts.
There’s a rumor going around that the iPad is going to launch sans integrated camera. What’s the big deal?
Wel plenty actually.
While the iPod didn’t need community features to compete in a market it dominated from day 1, the iPad is different. Both price point as well as market positioning are paramount to its success and the one advantage Apple could exploit is the ability to experience content both through easy to aggregate methods of link sharing (e.g. highlight an article and share on Facebook with a gesture) as well as through WOM.
Since the iPad will launch with iTunes, and I assume a healthy database of iPad optimized magazines and newspapers, does the ability to discuss content through the iPad make sense?
In my opinion, absolutely!
Finally you have a device and a reason to leverage video based communication. I already believe the integrated keyboard, while intuitive, will be too cumbersome to use as a substitute for the analog versions. Video chat could become the defacto means of communication on the iPad.
But alas, it looks like it wasn’t meant to be. Unfortunately the most recent SDK removes the references to the ability to accept and decline a video chat. And with just a day until iPad pre-orders begin, early adopters shouldn’t get their hopes up for a surprise.
(via: No Camera on Apple’s iPad, After All? – PCWorld.)