By Carla Hazarian
LAU Tribune staff
Wherever you look you see it. Shiny, sleek and sophisticated. “The future,” they call it. The Apple craze is everywhere. From iPods to iPads and iPhones, everyone wants one. What is it about Apple Macintosh and its products? In recent years, Apple seems to have surpassed old school phones and computers. It has been marketed as the new electronic fashion accessory. Ownership of Apple became some sort of elitist cult that everyone wants to join. But have you ever stopped to see what price do we pay for such luxury? According to a teardown analysis conducted by research firm Isuppli, the 16 GB iPhone 4 roughly costs about 188 US dollars to build –without the cost of shipping or the labor it takes to assemble the phone. But although Apple is an American brand, its products are all made in China by two manufacturing companies: Foxconn and Inventec. Using cheap labor, Apple saves millions. When the iPhone 4 came out in Lebanon, the price was no less than 800 US dollars . Today, the new iPhone 4 S 16 GB costs 940 dollars. Apple’s profit margin is staggering –and by no means is this a crime of any sort. Corporations are free to sell their products at whatever price they please, as are the people who want to buy them. It’s just interesting that people embrace such a product at such a price. One would assume that, because Apple products are so expensive, that they are made in the United States. In reality, Apple products are just cheaply made by impoverished Chinese sweatshop laborers. The working conditions of these people are inhumane. Apple was all over the news last summer when a string of suicide deaths hit one of its factories in China. More recently, a worker at Apple’s Foxconn killed himself by leaping to his death on May 26, 2011. Every year, Apple releases new and improved versions of its products but, essentially, it’s still the same thing, only slightly tweaked with a new hefty price tag. Every year also, hundreds of people eagerly await to buy more Apple products. And spending never stops at that point; there’s a whole Apple Store offering music, books, and Apps, ready to drain your credit cards. Essentially, Apple products are divided into four main categories; tablets (iPod and iPad and iPhone), software, Apple TV and Mac divisions. Up until 2007, music that you bought on iTunes could only be put onto Apple products. This made consumers stick to the brand. While this is no longer the case, it is still difficult for Apple consumers to venture out of the realm of Apple when they shop. Then iCloud came along. Some “giant database in the sky” that allows consumers to store and sync music, iTunes purchases, documents and personal information on all owned apple devices. It will all be backed up on an Apple server. While being able to sync music on multiple devices seems quite practical, I wonder why someone would want to trust their personal information with anyone but themselves. It just seems like one step closer to mass invasion of privacy. It’s not up to me to tell anyone what they can or can’t do. If it makes you happy then you are free to do as you please. But be aware of how major corporations milk us for money. At least give them a hard time about it and show them that you are not as blind as they think you are.