iPhone 5’s mixed headlines

Apple have sold more iPhone 5s in the 3 days since launching, than they did in their whole first month of the iPhone 4S’ launch (i.e. x10 growth). How is that phenomenal growth possible given the current economic climate?

Is the iPhone and other such tech a social leveller? Harrods is capitalising on its ‘brand’ and the trust its customers have in it by diversifying into luxury hotels.

Well, you and I might not be able to afford their exclusive holiday offerings, but you can afford the same phone as the world’s top celebs. Working as a painter and decorator in Wigan, you can have the same phone in your pocket as Bono or Branson.

Is that partly why these top-end phones are so ubiquitous? Are they are a slice of luxury accessible to the broader masses?

Either way it’s been a helium boost for the balloon that is Apple’s share price. On the day of launching $aapl closed at $669/share; in comparison at the iPhone 4S launch they opened at $416.83/share and closed at $422. (Nice chart here.)

But Apple got all the wrong kind of headlines this week with the rioting in their supplier Foxconn’s factory in Taiyuan that employs 79,000 not-so-eager-beavers. Tragically, in 2010 another Foxconn factory in Shenzhen saw several suicides/attempted suicides – apparently thanks to their Victorian/draconian conditions.

Isn’t this our frustration with Apple? They’re a company sited as an example in pretty much every business case: marketing expertise, branding, PR, product development, design, etc, etc. But the mantle few would attach to the firm is for their green credentials.

Why oh why don’t Apple spend a chunk of change and become the world’s ambassador for working conditions? For engineering with recycled materials. For the greenest energy consumption and creation. For workforce conditions, and so on. Yes, I know this is consumerism so we’re non-green before we even start here, but if we’re going to make stuff purely to have folks drool and part with their cash (Apple would say to improve their lives) then can’t they make it in the best way known to man? Isn’t that what we should expect of the world’s leading – and most valuable – company?

Steve Jobs’ legacy was a complex juxtaposition but few would deny his innovation and striving for perfection. But Tim Cook has the chance to go one better and become THE business example to the world.

What do you think? Will he take it? Are Apple good enough as they are or should they change?

(Image is a packed out Apple store in Bath the Saturday after launch.)

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