For the first time ever, cameras were allowed into Apple factories as ABC's "Nightline" was invited behind the closed doors of the iFactory in Shenzhen, China.
Last night, "Nightline" host Bill Weir donned a special static free suit, took an air shower to remove dust, and walked through the doors that have held the mystery of how our beloved devices of communication, information, and entertainment are made.
The "Nightline" cameras showed hundreds of factory works, sitting in rows, meticulously working on the production line. If it weren't for the white suits, doctor's masks, and pristine work area, the scene would have been quite reminiscent out of the industrial revolution.
Weir was surprised at the amount of workers, saying he expected most of the iPhone and iPad construction to be done by machine. A single iPad passes through 325 different factory workers and takes a total of five hours to construct, according to Weir's report.
Weir revealed that many factory employees work a 12-hour day, with two separate one-hour breaks for meals. Many workers live at a nearby dormitory, where rooms are shared between 7 workers.
Despite crowded rooms, there are some perks about living in the dormitory. There's an Internet café, a nearby soccer field, and classes are offered. Most of the Apple factory employees come from poor villages where jobs are scarce and they have left their families to come to Shenzhen and work.
"Nightline" also provided images the large nets between buildings on the iFactory's campus. These nets are to discourage employee suicide. They hang just above the first floor, visible to all who enter the building, setting an ominous and eerie mood.
"Nightline" shows workers coming and going, hanging around outside the building- all while the suicide nets hang over them.
The nets were installed after a wave of employee suicides in the spring of 2010. Nine workers killed themselves by jumping in the span of three months.
Other measures were taken after the wave of suicides, including increased wages and onsite counseling services.
Last night's Nightline dispelled some of the mystique Apple products carry. These sleek, modern devices don't just show up at an Apple store, they are built by human hands, meticulously, for 12 hours a day.