TECH

Peek Behind The Scenes At One Of Apple's Most Secretive Facilities

Fascinating photos take you to the iPhone factory floor.

Unlike actual apples, the fruits of Apple Inc.'s labor don't grow on trees. They're made by humans, some of whom labor long hours for a meager monthly wage that would barely buy them an iPhone of their own.

A feature published last month by Bloomberg's Shai Oster offers a rare peek inside one of Apple's most secretive production centers: the Pegatron factory on the outskirts of Shanghai, where some 50,000 Chinese workers transform raw silicon and plastic into the iPhone 6S.

The factory sits on a sprawling campus that includes cafeterias, courtyards and its own fire and police stations. Safety netting spans the gaps beneath catwalks. Face scanners and security gates greet workers at the door, where they must present an ID badge to gain entry. 

The security measures are designed to keep employees from working more than 60 hours a week, according to Bloomberg. But some workers say they need to exceed the 60-hour limit just to make ends meet. 

Pegatron does make available a few concessions to its workers' humanity, such as snack bars and lounge areas outfitted with Wi-Fi. Such spaces offer hints that factories in China might be entering a new era, where a modicum of comfort softens the brutal efficiency of factories past.

While inside the Pegatron factory, photographer Qilai Shen snapped a series of photos of subjects alternatively moving and mundane, capturing the rhythm and pulse of a place where nearly no outsiders go.

Like the iPhone's silicon guts, the whirring machinery of Apple's factories often remains hidden. Now, here it is on full display:

  • An employee changes into his uniform at his locker inside a Pegatron Corp. factory in Shanghai on Friday, April 15, 2016. Thi
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    An employee changes into his uniform at his locker inside a Pegatron Corp. factory in Shanghai on Friday, April 15, 2016. This is the realm in which the world's most profitable smartphones are made, part of Apple Inc.'s closely guarded supply chain.
  • Employees sit on the Pegatron factory campus.
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Employees sit on the Pegatron factory campus.
  • Pictures of employees hang on a wall at an employee service center inside the Pegatron factory.
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Pictures of employees hang on a wall at an employee service center inside the Pegatron factory.
  • Employees look at their smartphones while sitting on the Pegatron factory campus.
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Employees look at their smartphones while sitting on the Pegatron factory campus.
  • Employees speak with service personnel at an employee service center in the Pegatron factory.
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Employees speak with service personnel at an employee service center in the Pegatron factory.
  • An employee buys two sausage sticks during his lunch break in the Pegatron factory canteen. 
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    An employee buys two sausage sticks during his lunch break in the Pegatron factory canteen. 
  • Employees look at their smartphones while sitting at an employee service center in the Pegatron factory.
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Employees look at their smartphones while sitting at an employee service center in the Pegatron factory.
  • A supervisor at the Pegatron facility holds an iPad as he checks employees' names during roll call.
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    A supervisor at the Pegatron facility holds an iPad as he checks employees' names during roll call.
  • Pegatron employees make their way to the assembly line area after lining up for roll call.
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Pegatron employees make their way to the assembly line area after lining up for roll call.
  • Employees look into facial recognition devices as they swipe their badges to enter the factory's assembly line area.
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Employees look into facial recognition devices as they swipe their badges to enter the factory's assembly line area.
  • A supervisor holds an iPad as he checks a Pegatron employee's badge.
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    A supervisor holds an iPad as he checks a Pegatron employee's badge.
  • An employee uses a facial recognition device as she swipes her badge to enter the Pegatron assembly line area.
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    An employee uses a facial recognition device as she swipes her badge to enter the Pegatron assembly line area.
  • Employees look into facial recognition devices to enter the Pegatron assembly line area.
    Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Employees look into facial recognition devices to enter the Pegatron assembly line area.