Apple sends care packages including free iPads to some workers in China

Apple sends care packages including free iPads to some workers in China
Apple has been hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus with its manufacturing partners in China like Foxconn and Wistron shutting down. Assembly lines are slowly ramping back up and there could be a delay in the release of the budget-priced iPhone 9 expected next quarter. Even the unveiling and launch of next fall's iPhone 12 flagship models could be affected if the disease continues to spread. Apple's supply chain is unable to produce enough parts and components and only 29 of the 42 Apple Store locations in China are open for business; even those whose doors are open have the lights on for only eight hours a day.

Apple sends employees in China a care package that includes a new 10.2-inch iPad

While Apple must keep an eye on how the coronavirus is impacting its business, the company understands that people are suffering. This morning, a post on Chinese social media site Weibo included a photograph of a care package that Apple is sending to its employees in Wenzhou and Hubei who are quarantined. A letter that accompanies each package reads:

"Dear Colleagues in Hubei and Wenzhou,

We hope this note finds you healthy and well. Since the last communication with you, we understand that you are all staying strong in this challenging time. We understand the difficulties you are facing and would like to provide our best support to you and your families. Hubei and the city of Wuhan have been hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak, which has now claimed 2,835 lives in China.

We are sending our best wishes to you, on behalf of the entire Apple Team, together with another CareKit for you and your families. In the kit, you will find comfort items and an iPad which can be used to facilitate children's online learning or help pass the time during the prolonged stay at home.

In addition, a series of counseling and consultation services have been prepared especially for you to help you through this time."

The care package includes a face mask (although several doctors have advised that this does not stop the virus), a thermometer, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, food items, and a 10.2-inch iPad. The latter is more than just a thoughtful gift since we recently told you that tablet sales have skyrocketed in the country. That's because more employees are now forced to work from home and children are having their lessons streamed to them away from the classroom.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, during last week's annual stockholder meeting, commented that Apple's priority during the outbreak is the health and safety of its employees. The company has recently decided to double the amount of money that it originally planned to donate to China's efforts to battle the disease. Speaking of stockholders, those invested in Apple had a pretty bad week. After closing last week at $313.05, shares opened Monday sharply lower and traded as low as $256.37 before finishing the week at 273.36 for a weekly decline of 12.7%.

The March 31st new product event would seem to be at risk of being delayed. Besides the iPhone 9, we are expecting Apple to release new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models with a similar camera module to the one used on the iPhone 11 Pro. In addition, the new tablets are believed to include a ToF sensor for more accurate depth readings. Several Target employees also leaked information from the retailer's inventory system indicating that Apple could release a next generation iPod touch, a new Apple TV, and new over the ear headphones that could be the company's rumored "StudioPods." Much of the information provided by Target employees appeared to be placeholders; at this point, our best bet is to wait for further information from Apple to give us a better idea of what is coming from the company-and when.

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