In times of uncertainty, it is interesting to hear comforting words. This goes for anyone, including Apple employees and consumers. And it was with this in mind that the giant in Cupertino yesterday conducted a virtual meeting, with the participation of its main executives and employees of all levels, from all over the world.
According to the Bloomberg, Apple addressed issues related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), social isolation, remote work and the almost certain economic crisis that will come in the coming months or years; employees were also able to ask questions of company executives and share information about their personal situations.
Tim Cook, as it could not be otherwise, was the center of attention at the meeting: the Apple CEO classified the current moment as “uncertain and stressful”, noting that the company “is not immune to global economic trends”. Despite this, Cook said he was confident that Apple would go through the crisis and find even more strength after it:
If we continue to focus on what we do best, if we continue to invest, if we manage our business wisely and make collaborative decisions, if we take care of our teams, if our teams take care of their jobs … I see no reason why we should not be optimistic.
Cook cited two previous moments of crisis: first, Apple’s own crisis in the late 1990s, when the company came very close to bankruptcy and was saved at the last minute by Steve Jobs and his gang; then, the economic crisis of 2008, which affected the whole world – Apple included. In both cases, the company “responded” to the moment with revolutionary products, Cook recalled: iMac, in 1998, and the iPad, in 2010. The post-COVID-19 era will also be like that, according to the CEO (hello, Apple Glasses?).
When asked about possible job cuts, Cook said that Apple has a “strong enough financial position” to continue paying its retail employees during store closings; nevertheless, he preferred not to share certainties, saying that the priority is to do long-term strategic planning:
I will not say that Apple will not be impacted.
Currently, Apple’s retail employees are taking virtual training and holding online meetings, preparing for a possible return to work soon; at the meeting, there was no concrete prospect of when the company’s stores will reopen, but it is estimated that Apple Stores in the United States will be able to return to work as early as next month.
As for the other employees, the work continues in the form of home office; when offices reopen, Apple will implement temperature check and social distancing to prevent new cases of infection. According to Cook, there is a possibility that Apple will conduct COVID-19 tests on employees, but there are still no concrete plans in this regard.
Company executives also shared a positive prospect for future products: according to Cook, the company’s launch schedule will not be shaken by the pandemic. The CEO cited the recent launch of the new iPad Pro, MacBooks Air and the new iPhone SE as proof of this commitment.
The COO Jeff Williams he added, stating that the moment shows the importance of Apple’s health projects and promising that the company’s initiatives in this field “will not be limited to the pulse”. Williams also stated that the company is working to bring the ECG feature of the Apple Watch to more countries as quickly as possible (hello, look here!).
Good news, then – we’ll see if the weather will prove sensible.