Update: Apple issued a lengthy statement to the Wall Street Journal, claiming it has conducted 15 "comprehensive audits at Pegatron facilities since 2007," tracked working hours and has been in "close contact with China Labor Watch for several months, investigating issues they've raised and sharing our findings."
The company said that while it's addressed the issue of worker IDs being withheld, other claims are "new to us." It plans on sending auditors immediately to investigate.
Unsurprisingly, the company doesn't address any specific product in its statement.
Apple's facing more criticism over worker conditions as a watchdog report, published today, says that things just aren't too great over at the factory of supplier Pegatron.
China Labor Watch reports labour violations galore, including poor working and living conditions, and the use of underage employees, following similar previous criticisms of Apple's other major supplier, Foxconn.
However, in the details of the CLW report, there's also some explicit acknowledgement of Apple's fabled budget iPhone which is currently putting the rumour mill into overdrive.
"During the period of our investigation, Pegatron Shanghai had begun producing the cheap iPhone," says the report. "This iPhone model with a plastic cover will soon be released on the market by Apple."
Devil in the details
While we certainly wouldn't call this cold hard evidence, it's probably more credible than the barrage of pictures claiming to be of the budget iPhone.
The plastic handset is referenced multiple times through the report. Speaking to VentureBeat, China Labor Watch comfirmed that the report was written in July, but had been compiled starting from March.
On the weekend even saw a photo claiming to be the phone's packaging, outing the handset as the iPhone 5C. If you don't buy that though, you can see what the TechRadar team reckons Apple's cheaper handset might be called when it arrives.
What will Apple name its budget device? We have a stab: