Well, looks like Apple's all done with that investigation into Foxconn's 200,000 person manufacturing facility where some 30,000 people assemble iPods for a living. Apparently Cupertino farmed out some of the work to a firm that specializes in workplace standards of conduct, and put in over 1200 "person-hours" (i.e. a team of 5 people working 40 hours a week for 30 workdays) into investigating everybody from line workers to executives to the janitors at the plant. The long and short of it is Apple apparently did not find child or forced labor, learned that more than half of iPod city residents were earning more than minimum wage (and none below), and that there was no forced overtime, but it was found that workweeks too infrequently went long (as often as 35% of the time), some interim dorms for the workers sounded pretty harsh (think: rows of triple bunk-beds on a factory floor), and some workers were "made to stand at attention" when they did something wrong. That Apple took special attention to that last bit is only a wee bit ironic, given Steve's reputation for flying off the handle and firing people on the spot, but hey, "Apple has a zero tolerance policy for any instance, isolated or not, of any treatment of workers that could be interpreted as harsh," and that's the way it is. You know, come to think of it all this gadget blogging is wearing a little thin -- all this iPod assembly stuff kinda sounds like the life for us. Where do we sign up to live in the real iPod city, and not this fake one we've built for ourselves?

[Thanks, Motoi & Joey]