"We are saddened and upset by the recent suicides at Foxconn. We are in direct contact with Foxconn senior management and we believe they are taking this matter very seriously," Apple has stated.
"A team from Apple is independently evaluating the steps they are taking to address these tragic events and we will continue our ongoing inspections of the facilities where our products are made."
Growing concerns and public backlash over the suicide rate and potentially associated poor working conditions at Foxconn's factories in China, along with Apple's statement have sparked rumours regarding wage subsidies for Foxconn workers on the iPad assembly lines. Apple already provides Foxconn with a subsidy of 2.3% of the price of an iPad, it has been said that Apple will also provide 1-2% of the device's profits back into the hands of Foxconn workers.
This translates into about a 3% payout back to Foxconn, or the cost of manufacture for the aluminium back of the device, states MIC Gadget. This subsidy potentially works out to about a 20% increase in each individual workers wage.
From a marketing perspective, the move would be pure gold for Apple and would signify the first company to provide "fair-trade" electronics.
With Apple's profit margins, it is capable of providing these subsidies, and in turn could be the first "Fair-Trade Tech Company", states ZDNet. Other competitors in the field could potentially be labelled "cheaper and less fair" much to Apple's benefit.
Even without considering the marketing potential, if the rumours are found to be substantial, then Apple has taken a good first step towards fair employee treatment in the beleaguered industry.