You can't go anywhere these days without spotting those signature white earbuds... the iPeople are everywhere.

Sometimes I even catch myself believing that nothing so lovingly designed, so scrumptiously packaged could POSSibly be a part of something evil. I mean, it looks good, it should BE good.

But then, UK's Daily Mail reported on Sunday that the "Designed in California, Made in China," iPod seems to be assembled by women who "received as little as £27 a month, doing 15-hour shifts." The women live in dorms outside the factory, according to the paper, and outsiders are banned. According to MacWorld: "A security guard told the Mail reporters that the iPod shuffle production lines are staffed by women workers because 'they are more honest than male workers.'"

Just like Gitmo.

In response, Apple claims: "[we are] committed to ensuring that working conditions in our supply chain are safe, workers are treated with respect and dignity, and manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible."

We shall see, we shall see. If they do redouble their efforts it'll be interesting to see whether the list price rises or whether they'll take what looks to be a healthy cut in profits...

For the record, I own an iRiver; though I'm not entirely immune to iPod envy.

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