Tim Cook outlines Apple's COVID-19 response and aid efforts

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Early in the Q2 2020 Apple financial results conference call, CEO Tim Cook commented on COVID-19 and its impact on the company. While acknowledging how the quarter was originally shaping up to be very different, Cook expressed confidence in the iPhone maker's ability to bounce back from the pandemic.

In a speech covering an almost unavoidable subject given the last few months, Apple CEO Tim Cook spent the opening minutes of the call to analysts discussing the coronavirus pandemic. The major medical emergency has made the quarter the "most challenging" for the company, and it has been something Apple has been "contending with since January."

The second quarter was envisioned to be a "prolific quarter," had COVID-19 not occurred, but using its "unmatched capacity to be creative," Cook touched upon the ways Apple has helped efforts to curtail the virus' spread.

Apple used its worldwide network of supply chain partners to source more than 30 million masks for frontline medical workers. Product teams worked with suppliers to produce more than 7.5 million face shields so far, with Apple continuing to ship a million units of the item each week.

On its services and software sides, Cook pointed out how trusted sources were elevated in Apple News to educate people about the virus, and how assistance to skip payments were also provided to Apple Card customers.

A symptom checking website and app created in partnership with CDC has received a hefty audience, including more than 3 million website visits and more than 2 million app installations. There was also a mention of Apple's work with Google to create a contact tracing API, which should also help assist with managing the virus' spread.

Apple also made major corporate donations to efforts around the world, including to a new fund providing food to U.S. families.

As a business, Apple observed "temporary supply constraints" in its supply chain in February, but Cook claims production resumed back to typical levels by the end of March.

In the first five weeks, Apple was confident of reaching its guidance on the high end, but demand changes and production issues in the second five weeks forced a withdrawal of its guidance in February. In the last three weeks of the quarter, social distancing and other public effects of COVID-19 placed downward pressure on demand for iPhones and Wearables.

There is also "significant evidence" Apple products have a renewed importance from its customers, including high usage levels of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro after the launch of its 90-days free offer. For Apple Watch, by following new official guidelines, doctors and healthcare professionals are now using its ECG feature to remotely monitor patients.

"This may not have been the quarter it could have been absent this pandemic," he said.

Ultimately, Cook is proud of what Apple has achieved during this uncertain period. Apple's long-running strategy of investing in the future is "succeeding," such as in its Services arm.

Cook concluded his commentary by affirming Apple will continue to do what it can to help the global response.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Cook said sales were initially "very depressed" due to the coronavirus, but are already beginning to pick up.

"The stimuluses that have been done were bold, and I think that will play well. If more is needed, it seems like there will be more done, so that is also a great positive," Cook said.

 

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