Updated: Oct 28, 2020
By: Hyacinth Taylor
Coronavirus has halted the world. Schools have closed, the NBA and other sports leagues have been postponed, and travel plans have been discouraged. Our economy is facing rising levels of inflation because the demand for products is higher than what companies can supply. Prices are rising for basic products such as face masks, hand sanitizer, groceries and toilet paper to meet production costs. For example, people are buying in bulk, leaving shelves empty. As a result, people have resorted to buying online, but even those products are selling fast with some orders having an expected shipping date in April. If coronavirus is having this effect on our daily lives and the economy imagine what effect, it's having on the development of new technology.
This year was supposed to mark the launch of several Apple products and services: the iPhone 12 with ToF sensors, iOS 14, new over-ear headphones, new iMessage features and the release of the Beastie Boys documentary on Apple TV. For example, the iPhone 12 with ToF sensors captures pictures using infrared laser scanning. This allows the camera to measure amounts of light even in the dark, project 3D images, calculate distance and volume in objects, indoor navigation, obstacle avoidance and gesture recognition. The new iMessage features will allow users to unsend messages and mention people in texts with an “@”. People already use this feature through secondary apps like Instagram and Snapchat. However, many were upset with how these apps developed this tool before the regular messaging feature itself. In addition, the release of the Beastie Boys documentary expands Apple TV’s platform. Apple TV is compatible with a variety of popular cable TV streaming apps in news, entertainment and sports and education. Also, it offers pre-order and rental movies.
Apple may be on to something with these new innovations. Unlike the failed inventions of Google Glass and Snapchat Spectacles in prior years, Apple is thinking ahead of its consumers’ needs. Google Glass was first released in 2013. One of the major critiques of Google Glass was that it “failed because it neglected to define and validate the users and what problems it was solving for them. They assumed the product would sell itself even without real solutions or value, that its hype would be enough to appeal to everyone” (Yoon, Medium). On the other hand, Apple tells their users exactly what they need and convinces them that it will make their lives more productive. Snapchat Spectacles were released in 2016. Snapchat Spectacles failed because they could only be used with the Snapchat app. Many people said that they were limited and useless without the app. Also, the company had released their product five months late, so by the time they hit the market, they were no longer popular. In contrast, Apple usually makes sure their objectives are met to release products on time.
Last year in 2019, Apple reported that they made $64 million in sales during its fourth quarter, a 2 percent increase from 2018. International sales accounted for 60 percent of the revenue. However, since the coronavirus outbreak, Apple has taken steps to reduce involvement with its international branches. Goldman Sachs Analyst Rod Hall says that Apple closed all its Apple stores outside of China and opted to shutter its global retail chain (Campbell, Apple Insider). Most of Apple’s manufacturers are centered in China and export to other countries like Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Hall also believes that due to the coronavirus, the production of Apple products will decrease by 7.6 million units “resulting in revenue contractions of 4.5% for the March quarter, 5.5% for the June quarter and 2% for the September quarter.” In connection to Apple’s sales and production is its stock. Apple’s stock was down 12.5 percent down in one week. Likewise, as of March 18, the two most popular stock markets, DOW Jones and S&P 500, went down as well. DOW Jones dropped 1,338 points and S&P 500 dropped 131.09 points.
Overall, Apple still has a chance of a bright future. At the end of 2020, hopefully, our economy will bounce back from the effects of the coronavirus. For some companies, this may mean they have to start over, but for a company like Apple, which has been building their foundation for years, it will not be difficult. Even now with the coronavirus still spreading, people still have a need for Apple devices and products for things such as conducting online classes using Facetime, keeping track of their health through Apple Health/Apple Watch, and observing daily spending through Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.