Today Apple released official photos of Tim Cook, Apple CEO, visiting the new Foxconn factory and its iPhone production line in Zhengzhou. The photos mark the first time an Apple CEO has visited a production plant.
As Apple fans will now know, the company rarely makes contact with the media, or defends itself from harsh allegations.
But the Foxconn worker conditions furore dug up, and then retracted, by US performer Mike Daisey on This American Life, have struck a nerve.
Earlier this week, Tim Cook met with China's Executive Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, a move that indicates that the company are considering expanding further into that country.
Apple says the Foxconn Zhengzhou Technology Park is the world's largest smartphone factory, with 95 production lines and 120,000 employees.
Apple provided no further information about Cook's visit to Foxconn, but his presence in the factory indicates that they are taking even those withdrawn allegations quite seriously.
Following the allegations of unfair working conditions and under-aged workers at Foxconn, Apple this year released a full list of the 97 suppliers it works with worldwide.
Apple has also been releasing a Supplier Responsibility Report (SRR) since 2007, and the 2011 report (released on Friday 13 January 2012) reads: "We have a zero-tolerance policy for underage labor, and we believe our system is the toughest in the electronics industry. In 2011, we broadened our age verification program and saw dramatic improvements in hiring practices by our suppliers. Cases of underage labor were down significantly, and our audits found no underage workers at our final assembly suppliers."
At the time, Apple emailed The Huffington Post to reiterate that the company conducted 229 audits of its supply chain in 2011, including more than 100 first-time audits - an 80 percent increase over 2010.
If you were hoping for a glimpse of the rumoured Apple iPhone 5, we're sorry to disappoint. The photos only show some powerful gesturing and a shelf of white iPhone 4s.
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