One could argue that Apple’s release of new iPads and Macs amidst a global pandemic is tone deaf. Or maybe not.
As we, and everyone else, reported on March 18, Apple released new iPads and Macs. Was this wise? It’s a complex issue, nuanced, and there are both pros and cons.
One doctor I spoke with, who is also an Apple customer and fan, described the decision as “tone deaf.” But really? Let’s look at the issue more closely.
To first order, the decision seems to fly in the face of good moral leadership. As other companies, airlines, hotels, restaurants and ISPs, to name a few, are making great sacrifices, Apple looks to be carrying on business as usual.
And then there’s the question of whether Apple, known for its emphasis on health issues, could do more than donate money.
Next, couldn’t Apple, instead, use its industrial capacity to manufacture critical medical supplies?
Finally, and this is uncertain, are Apple employees who should not be on the front lines selling the new products being put at risk?
On the positive side, Apple knows that many more people, globally, are working from home and many need to buy the best technology available for that purpose. This alone is reason enough.
Moreover, these new products were in the design and production pipeline long before the COVID-19 virus caused a pandemic. Now that they’re manufactured, by people who had jobs creating them, it makes no sense to let them sit, aging, on inventory shelves.
As for medical equipment, Apple’s supply chain is engineered to produce very specific consumer electronics. It would require high-level government action to permit Apple to bypass patents, licensing and export/import issues. And engineer the equipment for manufacture. That may come, but not today. For now, donated cash is king.
As for employees at new risk, maybe not since Apple has a wealth of products to offer and the new products simply replace old ones. Retail store hours and sanitation efforts will be set by the local conditions, and, in fact, Apple retail stores are still closed as of this writing. Each store has a notice.
Our retail stores are closed until further notice.
We are committed to providing exceptional service to our customers. For purchases with fast and free delivery, shop here on apple.com or the Apple Store app. For service and support, go to support.apple.com or call 800-275-2273. We look forward to seeing you soon.
All in all, this must have been a carefully thought out decision. It appears that the pros absolutely outweigh the cons. Apple may take some off-the-cuff flak, but I believe Apple is on the right path.