I don’t know that bloody iPhones and skull icons are the best way to make an argument for more ethical labor policies at factories like Foxconn. And the name “iKill” is just as tacky as it is ineffective at evoking some sort of meaningful emotional response.
But numbers? Numbers are powerful things. If anyone taught us that, it was Apple and its contemporaries, hawking gadgets that were twice as fast, half as thin.
Do you remember that moment in Harry Potter, when that first amazing feast just appeared on the banquet tables of Hogwarts? Ron practically wet himself in anticipation of his first full belly after years of fighting over scraps at the Weasley dinner table. A skeptic might say it was all too good to be true--how could amazing food just appear--but this was the world of Harry Potter. It was magic.
Then in book two, you learned, it wasn’t magic at all! There were just a lot of hard working elves working countless hours to make the whole spectacle possible, and as much as we all loved the late Dumbledore, he was as responsible as anyone for turning a blind eye.
That’s where we are now with Apple. The story has gotten less fun, but finally, we can grow up.
However magical Apple’s products might be, magic doesn’t exist in this world. Industrial production is an exhausting, horribly paying job by the standards of anyone reading this. Apple isn’t the only Foxconn customer by any stretch, but they are the largest, richest, and most lauded. If Apple is taking it on the chin, it’s only because they have the biggest and, at times, smuggest chin of them all.
Stay hungry? Yes. Stay foolish? Sure. But absolutely, stay disgusted, too. Stay angry.
Because with $108 billion in revenue a year, Apple has every meaningful resource to make things, not just better, but better than ever. And maybe, just maybe, a company like Apple can do something truly great: make us all believe in magic again.