After the torrent of criticism that Apple has weathered about their manufacturing facilities in China, the world’s most valuable company decided to take a giant leap toward transparency and recently allowed American television cameras to film inside the infamous Foxconn facilities for the first time. Tonight, Nightline will broadcast to millions of viewers a world that has never before been seen so candidly – the final assembly lines for the iPhone, iPad and MacBook in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China. The Nightline exclusive report, called “iFactory: Inside Apple,” will air tonight on ABC at 11:35 p.m. ET.
Apple decided to allow ABC anchor Bill Weir — after he spent years asking for access — into the factories and told him that he was the first reporter from any country to make the journey inside. Weir and his camera crew visited the production lines in Chengdu and Shenzhen along with representatives from the Fair Labor Association, which was recently brought on to perform independent audits of Apple’s manufacturing facilities in China. They were able to interview workers without interruption and were even given a tour of the dormitories where Foxconn workers live in the few hours they aren’t working.
From the preview circling the internet, it looks like this report will be a sobering view of the Apple facilities for most Americans, much like the This American Life episode that highlighted Mike Daisy’s one man show “The Agony and the Ecstacy of Steve Jobs,” which partially inspired Weir’s report.
At one poingant moment during the report, Weir interviews a Foxconn worker, Zhou Xiao Ying, who is charged with carving the Apple logo into the back of iPad casings and shows her photos of his children back in the United States on his own iPad. She has never seen a working iPad before and Weir asks her what she wants people who buy the devices to know about her. She replies, “I want them to know me. I want them to know we put a lot of effort in this product so when they use this please use it with care.”
Watch Nightline’s “iFactory: Inside Apple” tonight on ABC at 11:35 p.m. ET