Apple CEO Tim Cook today addressed Apple employees at a virtual company-wide meeting held to address questions about work-from-home arrangements and when people can expect to return to their jobs in retail stores and corporate offices.
Bloomberg shared details on the meeting, with Tim Cook calling the current health crisis an “uncertain and stressful moment” that Apple will recover from. Apple, said Cook, began the year with a strong balance sheet and will continue investing “in a really significant way” in research and development and future products.
If we stay focused on doing what we do best, if we keep investing, if we manage the business wisely and make decisions collaboratively, if we take care of our teams, if our teams take care of their work, I don’t see any reason to be anything but optimistic.
Cook was asked about job cuts, but said that Apple is in a strong financial position and has been paying retail employees unable to work. Cook said that his focus is on running Apple for the long-term rather than the short-term. Cook cited the launch of the MacBook Air, iPad Pro, and iPhone SE as evidence that Apple’s product launches are not being disrupted.
There’s no word yet on when Apple employees will be able to return to their workplaces, but he said that Apple will likely implement measures like temperature checks and social distancing when employees do go back to work.
Apple’s retail staff has started online training and virtual meetings have ramped up ahead of store re-openings, with Apple planning to re-open its first store in South Korea this weekend. U.S. stores are not likely to reopen until May, and even then, will open on a staggered basis with Apple taking into account local conditions and guidelines.
According to Cook, Apple has now sourced and donated more than 30 million N95 masks to healthcare workers around the world and has shipped more than two million of the face shields that it has been working on.
Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams also spoke, and he said that the health crisis has made Apple’s work on health products more important, including the Apple Watch. Apple’s development work in health isn’t “limited to the wrist,” but more governments are now working with Apple to bring the ECG feature to additional countries.