Apple's done a lot (particularly under the tenure of CEO Tim Cook) to bolster its reputation as a "force for good," but an upcoming documentary for BBC One aims to show that it hasn't been enough. The program, entitled "Apple's Broken Promises," features Richard Bilton's Panorama team going undercover in China and Indonesia to learn how workers are treated by Apple's suppliers.
That's an important distinction, particularly since the program appears to level the gun of inquiry at Apple specifically rather than its competitors, many of whom share the same suppliers (such as industry giant Foxconn). Indeed, ABC's Nightline toured Foxconn specifically back in 2012 (with Apple's permission) to see how the iPad and iPhone came into being. ABC's report covered Foxconn's low wages and long hours, but it did at least make mention of the efforts Apple's taking to ensure its workers are treated fairly. The Nightline documentary was made in response to a scathing report from The New York Times in 2012 entitled "In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad."
Apple has tried to distance itself from such suppliers with limited success. Back in July of last year, it formed a task force to see if allegations were true that Apple was using illegal tin for its devices, and it's brought production of the new Mac Pro back to the United States. In some cases, though, as with the sapphire crystal fiasco at GT Advanced's Arizona factory, homegrown efficiency apparently isn't working as well as what the company can find overseas.
Panorama's hour-long documentary should hit BBC One screens in the UK at 9:00 P.M. in the United Kingdom on December 18. The site says it'll be available online "shortly after broadcast."