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OUTSOURCED Apple Audits: China Labor Unsafe Thomas Lee, Bloomberg News / Getty Images

Apple Audits: China Labor Unsafe

As speculation about the iPhone 5 kicks into gear, The New York Times looks into the often brutal factory conditions that make such rapid improvement possible. Apple's own audits found that hundreds of its supply factories in China require employees—some as young as 15—to work more than 60 hours a week, or more than 6 days a week, sometimes in deadly conditions. Yet fewer than 15 suppliers have been terminated for transgressions since 2007, according to former Apple executives. “You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards,” a current Apple executive told the Times. “And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China.”

January 26, 2012 7:16 AM