Fortunately, my recent exposure to iEnvy has also proved to be educational. An article in The Spectator entitled "Rotten Apple" turned out not to be another puff piece examining the shortcomings of iPad users. Instead, I learned that tantalum is not a new App available from the iTunes store for a modest fee, but the name of a greyish-blue transition metal used in the manufacture of iPhones and iPads. Who knew?
Writer Philip Delves Broughton cites the dubious provenance of tantalum—one fifth of the world's supply is mined in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo—as one of several good reasons to take a hard look at Apple's supply chain. He concludes that while these shiny toys are great, "the world was not a conspicuously worse place without them. The more we learn about what it takes to make them, the less blinding their dazzle".
Yes, when it comes to iEnvy, the Central African state has assets that are considerably more covetable than a $500 smartphone or tablet. In fact, as Newsweek explains, "Its bountiful deposits—in everything from copper to diamonds—are brazenly plundered by corrupt governments and regional warlords." So instead of recycling meaningless Facebook surveys, I think the British media should consider the true significance of the "conflict metals" being used in Apple's products and the butchers who helped put them there. It's no laughing matter.