Walking past Apple's sleek shop along London's Regent Street on Sunday, my wife asked me what I wanted for Father's Day.

"An iPad?" I ventured, half-jokingly.

"Are you sure you want one? Don't you care how they're made?" came her disapproving reply.

She was, of course, referring to the rash of suicides among Chinese workers at Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer of Apple's much desired iPads and iPhones.

The deaths prompted the company to raise salaries and cut working hours but lingering concerns over conditions for its over 1 million workers in China were underscored by a plant explosion last month that killed at least 3 people.

Workers like those who live and work in Foxconn's sprawling Chinese facilities have long been the backbone of the country's vast manufacturing sector which churns out a torrent of consumer goods for export.