Apple informed employees that a full return to work in 2020 is unlikely while they committed $400 million towards California's Housing Crisis
Apple has shipped COVID-19 test kits to employees’ homes, and told their staff in a memo that a full return to U.S. offices won’t occur before the end of the year. It stands to reason that with this announcement, the likelihood of a live event for iPhone 12 is equally unlikely to take place in September. Expect another virtual event. Some fans may even favor a taped event. It's an industry trend, as Samsung has announced it's upcoming August 5th event launching the new Galaxy S20 will be virtual.
In a video shared with Apple retail employees over the weekend, Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and people, pressed employees working at stores that have closed again to begin working from home to serve customers buying or seeking support for products online or over the phone.
O’Brien told staff in the video: "If your store is closed, please sign up for Retail at Home, please talk to your manager, because we really need to make sure that we shift our teams to greet our customers remotely in this time. We may need to be working remotely for some period of time."
Of Apple’s 271 U.S. retail locations, more than 90 have had to close again due to COVID-19 spikes. The company has also shut some stores again in the U.K. and Australia. For locations that remain open, the company is requiring face masks for customers and employees as well as temperature checks upon entry. For more on this read the full story on Bloomberg's technology homepage today titled "Apple Pessimistic on Full 2020 Return to U.S. Offices, Pushes Retail to Work Remote."
On a More Positive Note
On a more positive note, Apple announced today that it is allocating more than $400 million toward affordable housing projects and homeowner assistance programs in California this year, marking a major milestone in the company’s multiyear $2.5 billion commitment to combat the housing crisis in the state.
The funding will support thousands of Californians with first-time homebuyer assistance or new affordable housing units.
Projects launching this year include the first affordable housing developments funded in partnership with Housing Trust Silicon Valley, which will create more than 250 new units of affordable housing across the Bay Area, as well as a mortgage and down payment assistance fund and an affordable housing investment support program, both created in conjunction with the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA).
Apple is also supporting additional construction of affordable housing units through its partnership with Destination: Home, which supports Silicon Valley’s most vulnerable populations.
Kristina Raspe, Apple’s vice president for Global Real Estate and Facilities: "At a time when so many members of our community are facing unprecedented challenges, we believe it’s critical to make sure that their hopes for the future are supported through tangible programs and results. As cities and states have been forced to pause many of their long-term affordable housing investments amidst the current public health crisis, Apple is proud to continue moving forward with our comprehensive plan to combat the housing crisis in California."
Apple’s support for Destination: Home has helped fund the construction of over 1,000 new units of deeply-affordable and supportive housing for the community’s most vulnerable populations across Silicon Valley. This includes a new project in Santa Clara that will create 80 new units, designed for seniors who are currently homeless or at risk of falling into homelessness. For more, read Apple's full press release here.
It's great to see that Apple and other Silicon Valley companies are trying to fix a problem that they themselves helped to create for local residents.