After months and months of rumors and endless speculation, Apple finally released its much-anticipated iPhone X earlier this month to much fanfare. And while there’s already some speculation popping up about what Apple could be planning next—does it ever end?—most Apple fanatics are, for the moment at least, content with Apple’s last phone. Face ID glitches aside, the phone seems to be a success for Apple so far.
But a new report from the Financial Times is going to pour a little bit of cold water over that success and force Apple to face some tough questions about their iPhone production process. On Tuesday, FT published a report that suggested the iPhone X is being manufactured by high school students who are working illegally in China to meet the demand of Apple customers.
According to the report, which featured insight from six high school students who have first-hand experience with assembling the iPhone X, Apple supplier Foxconn has been illegally employing student interns from the Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School at their factory in Zhengzhou, China and telling them that they are required to put together iPhones in order to gain "work experience." Furthermore, the students have been asked to work shifts that run for up to 11 hours at a time, which is against the law in China. Student interns can only work for up to 40 hours per week at the factory.
Apple appears to have acknowledged that there is a problem with the way iPhone Xs are being produced. In a statement given to FT, Apple admitted that an audit of the Foxconn facility showed "instances of student interns working overtime at a supplier facility in China." Foxconn has also said that "interns did work overtime in violation of our policy."
But several of the students who spoke with FT were upset over the fact that they are basically being forced to work at the Foxconn factory in the first place. One told FT that the work students do for Foxconn "has nothing to do with our studies." Apple and Foxconn have both denied forcing students to work for them, but whatever the case, this is obviously not a great look for either company and illustrates what a shitshow it’s been behind-the-scenes for Apple as they’ve worked to get the iPhone X out into the world.
You can check out the full FT report here.