Apple continuing to work on new products despite global office closures
Development of new HomePod, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, low-cost iPad, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMac models is continuing, despite the majority of Apple’s corporate employees working from home, claims The Information.
According to a new report shared today, Apple, a company known for its notoriously strict secrecy, is allowing some of its engineers to take home early versions of unreleased future devices so that they can be worked on offsite, with a management team run by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook reviewing which employees are given the green light from Apple to take hardware away from its labs.
Rather than flying back and fourth to visit suppliers in China, something many Apple engineers do frequently during this time of year, factories are said to be sending images of hardware to Apple employees via email so that components can be reviewed digitally rather than in person, with a team of workers doing “the night shift” to overcome the time difference between the US and Asia to avoid delayed responses with the supply chain.
According to a source, Apple is sending regular memos to employees working from home, reminding them to ensure their screens aren’t visible by anybody else in the household, issuing ergonomic desk advice and allowing staff to bill expenses such as office supplies and furniture to Apple.
Despite Apple encouraging its staff to use services such as iMessage, Group FaceTime and iCloud Drive Folder Sharing for added security, it is said that some third-party apps are being frequently used due to Apple’s consumer rather than enterprise focus for its services.
Due to the closure of the vast majority of its offices, employees are unable to use on-site labs, which has caused prototyping work to stop.
Employees can no longer use Apple’s 3-D printers and milling machines, nor can they conduct stress and drop tests of their designs. One employee said prototyping in Cupertino had mostly stopped. At first, Apple didn’t have a protocol in place for employees to bring components from future products home with them, but more recently it has established a process for doing so in some instances, two employees said.
Apple is said to be limiting the number of employees that have access to future versions of new software, including iOS 14, following a string of recent feature leaks, including details about future Apple Watch capabilities and iOS upgrades.