Paris Marx is joined by Brian Merchant to discuss the development of the iPhone, how Apple manages the press, and how the parts of the company’s supply chain that get too little attention.
Brian Merchant is the author of The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone and Blood in the Machine, coming in 2022. Follow Brian on Twitter at @bcmerchant.
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Tech Won’t Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter, ⚒️ THE HAMMER ⚒️.
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Also mentioned in this episode:
- In 1968, Douglas Engelbart showed off the “Mother of All Demos.”
- David Nye wrote the American Technological Sublime.
- Paris thinks Apple’s Steve Jobs Theater has big church vibes.
- Disgraced former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes tried to emulate Steve Jobs.
- IBM built the Simon smartphone in the 1990s, but it was ahead of its time.
- In 2011, Apple made $473,000 per retail employee — far more than other retailers. Its revenue per square foot was almost double Tiffany’s. That year, Cory Moll also led a push for an Apple Retail Workers Union, but Apple fought back and he left the company in 2013.
- In 2010, after facing criticism, Steve Jobs said the suicide rate at Foxconn factories was “well below the China average.”
- In December 2020, workers at a Wistron iPhone factory in India ransacked the factory because they weren’t getting paid.
- Jenny Chan, Mark Selden, and Ngai Pun wrote Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn, and The Lives of China’s Workers (US/UK).
- Apple files annual conflict minerals reports. You can read their 2021 report here.
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