Activist vows to keep broken iPhone until Apple cleans up its act

Cracked iPhone 5C, via GewTV on Flickr.

Cracked iPhone 5C, via GewTV on Flickr.

Although the environmental group she heads up is “pleased” about the improvements Apple announced to protect workers from toxic chemicals, activist Elizabeth O’Connell still won’t buy the Cupertino company’s products.

Even if it means making those phone calls to rally support against Apple on an iPhone with a cracked screen.

“I am very happy that Apple has taken these steps and that the company is listening to its customers,” the campaign director for Green America told Cult of Mac via email. “That said, I’m going to hold on to my cracked 5c for now. I’d like for Apple to deepen its commitment to worker health and safety throughout its supply chain before I consider purchasing any new Apple products.”

Apple announced it is banning the use of benzene and n-hexane — the chemicals that make your iPhone and iPad super shiny — in the final assembly of its products.

The change is a win for the 80-strong group of environmental and human rights groups that fired off a 17-page letter to Apple’s vice president of environmental affairs Lisa Jackson back in June as part of its “Bad Apple” campaign. Some 23,0000 signatures later, Apple responded.

Protests against Apple have cropped up frequently in the last few years. In some ways, the Cupertino company makes an easier target than its competitors, most of whom make gadgets in the same Chinese factories. In addition to crafting must-have devices that are instantly recognizable from San Francisco to Shanghai, Apple has become more responsive to consumer outcry about how its insanely great products are made, from the supplier responsibility reports issued since 2007 to the recently-launched environment portal. Apple’s 2014 progress report highlights over 200 factory visits and mandated improvements to nearly 100 of them to identify, evaluate and control chemical exposure to workers.

“This announcement and the preceding investigation shows that Apple listens to its customers,” O’Connell said. “However, Apple needs to go further to create a safe environment at all factories in their supply chain for the health and safety of all 1.5 million workers.”

She’ll carry on the fight, even from a broken iPhone, though she recognizes the ban is a step in the right direction.

“I think Apple fans should thank Apple for taking this step and encourage the company to keep going in this direction, towards greater worker health and safety throughout its supply chain.”

  • Jonah Corvus

    And the sound of silent apathy was deafening.

  • Anthony Scouras

    is so funny. she thinks apple will respond to her. apple is easily the best company when it comes to the enviroment

    • andrewi

      That, my good sir is absolutely ridiculous. Rock bottom iFixIt scores, super glued cases, non-removable battery, non-expandable anything without replacing the whole device internals and throwing out the rest.

      Apple is easily the worst offender in history of electronics when it comes to inflexible design. Most iPhones that are pre 3G right now are dead and in a dump. Not because they are broken, but simply because you can’t replace the dead battery inside them. 5 Years from now that will be the case with your iPhone. It actually already is the case if you upgraded your New Mac as the first mainboard would have been left on the table next to the box containing a WHOLE NEW MAC just to give you a little more RAM. How is that good for the environment?

      • Anthony Scouras

        man ive replaced multiple batteries in iphones simplest thing to do. ive taken every kind of computer apart as well iMacs are easy to take apart just a little heat. I’ve replaced glass panels everything

      • andrewi

        Lol, I love the way you’ve worded this.

        Yeah, replacing your iPhone 5 battery is easier than before with the base screw, but it’s still too hard for Joe Bloggs to do and Apple charge £80(!) to do it for you, and nobody I know even knows the offer that service.

        Compare it to 95% of other phones in the world that just allow you to unclip the back cover and buy a battery and that’s bad. Not as abysmal as using a heat gun and a razor to take off the glass like you used to have to (and still do for the iPad), but still bad.

        And I’m sure you have actually taken ‘every kind of computer’ apart, but that completely sidesteps my point. Once you actually have taken the thing apart, what can you upgrade to extend the life of the product and keep it away from the dump? With a new Mac Pro, the answer is literally nothing but the mSATA. With the Retina MBP you can add the HDD to the mix. With the Non-Retina MBP you can add RAM to the mix. With the older silver Mac Pros you can add the GPU to the mix.

        Can you see the pattern? Apple is steadily getting less and less serviceable in the name of profit. I am not talking about just user servicing, I am talking about the fact that if you want to upgrade a Retina MBP RAM to 8GB they need to throw away your mainboard: The whole thing(!!!!) just to make sure you can’t upgrade the RAM without paying their 2x Markup for added memory… If you want to upgrade a non-Retina MBP you simply slot in a 4GB RAM stick.

      • Anthony Scouras

        Because now apple computers last for years and years. I have an old mac pro 15 from 2012. A new Mac Pro. MacBook Air. All them will last years. Only windows computers you need to upgrade because there are terrible. Terrible components that don’t last. And everything is replaceable on any mac. Just have to learn how to do it just like a PC. Soldering isn’t a hard thing to learn and people buy macs to have them last. No need to worry about them breaking in 3 or 4 or 8 years unlike pcs that break within 3 months.

      • biscuitsnatcher

        aha, only a mac is considered old if it survives for two years.

        even a cheap dell can last five years.

      • Anthony Scouras

        hahahahha dells cant last five years yeah maybe if you wipe the computer and start fresh every week. i have a dell from 1992 and its still kicking but thats because it has nothing on it besides the system software. windows computers and Dell is the worst at it just shit the bed after a year ive had multiple over the past 20 years and they are just cheap materials even if you spend 2 grand.

  • Windlasher

    And Im going to refuse to stop eating dolphin stew and spotted owl soufflé until these environmental nut bags get a clue.

  • CelestialTerrestrial

    Some activists make good points and some don’t. Keeping a cracked screen out of spite for this? Come on… I’ve got one word to describe this woman. Childish. Obviously, some of these activists haven’t run a high tech company before.

  • Aannddyy

    I think a hunger strike would be more effective.

  • lowtolerance

    She obviously didn’t have an issue with how Apple products are made when she bought an iPhone 5c less than a year ago. This a totally meaningless gesture, and reporting it on it only makes CoM look fucking stupid.

    • lucascott

      good point. she bought an iPhone back when those chemicals were the norm. oops

      although I really wonder if they are cutting the use because of activists or because new materials means they can’t. What if they have revamped the oleophobic coating and using those chemicals to polish the screens screws up the coatings. that coating and making sure it stays on is a big deal for Apple so using something else to polish the screens before application would be required.

      not that they would admit that that is the true reason. not when they can get good press out of the ban

  • HBTonly

    Hey idiots, either pressure ALL the manufacturers doing it, or leave Apple alone. Stop using Apple’s name to beg for attention.

    • lucascott

      good point. Apple gets a lot of press but they aren’t the only guilty

      • andrewi

        They are the biggest and most powerful. It’s common logic to go for the biggest and most powerful first. Anyone else who is accused can simply say “Well Apple do it and you won’t go for them, how much did they line your pockets with?!” until they do.

        Not to mention Apple owns Aluminum mines and the whole shebang.

    • http://www.themacuniverse.com ghostshadow

      That’s the real issue. Everyone uses Apple because it’s a buzzword. How about focusing on all of these manufacturers. It’s not an Apple specific issue. Apple has done a hell of a lot more to be more eco-cautious than the majority of the others out there.

  • DarthDisney

    Is this a joke? Seriously?

  • http://techshizzle.com/ rsbell

    Please stop giving this nut job an outlet to spout her nonsense.

  • Gregg_Thurman

    O’Connell is typical of those with an over inflated sense of their importance/relevance. They make stupid statements, as though anybody (other than themselves) cared. A pimple on a gnat’s ass dwarfs her in importance.

    I, for one, hope she keeps her broken 5C for a very, very long time. Apple, and the world, is better off without her fat lady at the circus sized ego. hmm, she probably is the fat lady at the circus.

  • James Anthony Bobik

    When you’re ready to stop eating animals, buying leather shoes, being mean to anyone (including Apple), giving away all your earthly possessions and dedicating your life to doing only good you’re just as guilty as everyone else on earth. Get over yourself lady.

  • Tallest Skil

    Go stick your head in a vat of flour, you pathetic wretch.

  • Sarcastic Curmudgeon

    I betya that she also has links to PETA. Save the sea-kittens! (MAJOR SNARK>

  • Charles Ott

    Who cares !!!

  • Yujin

    Some people think they really matter with dumb acts of punishment. I bet this chick also wears hay instead of tampons.

  • Kr00

    Why does the media give these fruit loops any air time at all? It only encourages their stupidity. What an utter oxygen thief.

  • calmasacow

    Good! More for the rest of us!

  • JDSoCal

    Officious, idiotic liberals. Go look at the suppliers Apple doesn’t use; now those are abusive.

    All you libturds are going to do is get Chinese workers replaced by robots. Trust me, they do not want your “help”!

  • Petar Živanić

    “evaluate and control chemical exposure to workers” – shouldn’t this part read “evaluate and control workers’ exposure to chemicals”?

  • Darksid3r

    You are either the luckiest guy or the biggest bullshitter on the planet. I had 3 VAIOs so far – crappiest laptops ever: bad design, terrible battery life, battery becomes useless after a year, random crashes, etc. Also have 2 top-of-the-line HPs at work which come to a close second as the worst piece of hardware I ever laid my hands on.
    Now I’m the owner of a 2 yo 15″ MacBook Pro. Cannot be happier with it: never ever had a single system crash, battery life is great (still have over 95% of battery health), feels as snappy and responsive as in the first day (unlike windows machines which require reinstalling windows every 6 mo).
    Oh, and this comes from a guy that does heavy computations (e. g. simulations, image analysis, etc.) on his Mac.

  • Anthony Scouras

    windows are terrible no matter how much you pay for them. the parts they use for even a 2grand computer still fall apart after a year i know ive had multiple over the years.

  • Anthony Scouras

    built PC’s are fine they work great. i love mine never had a problem with it. its the windows computers that come pre built by companies that don’t give shit about there users. Unlike Apple which you can get easily 5 years out of one. Computers pre built with windows will never last that long without having to completely wipe the computer an start again

About the author

Nicole MartinelliNicole Martinelli heads up Cult of Mac Magazine, our weekly publication available on iTunes. You can find her on Twitter and Google+. If you're doing something new, cool and Apple-related, email her.

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