Coronavirus: Apple says work from home as iPhone sales drop
Apple’s iPhone sales in China - a key market and the country most affected by coronavirus - have dropped precipitously.
That's according to Reuters, which said over the course of February, only 494,000 iPhones were sold, compared to 1.27 million in February 2019. In January 2020, meanwhile, Apple sold some two million devices. The huge fall is down to restrictions on travel and other measures intended to lessen the spread of coronavirus. Indeed, Apple’s Chinese stores were shut for two weeks during February.
The news was not unexpected, with Apple having last month issued revised revenue guidance for the March quarter which it put down to a disruption in supply due to the slower than expected reopening of its facilities as well as a fall in demand due to the closure of its stores.
It’s not only Apple which has been affected, however. In total, only 6.34 million mobile phone devices were sold in February - a reduction of 54.7% compared to the same month last year, when 14 million were sold. That's equally impacting Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei and Xiami, whose Android devices make up the bulk of the market.
According to Bloomberg, meanwhile, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has issued a worldwide memo encouraging those employees who are able to work from home to do so for the time being. Covering the entirety of this week. Cook was quoted as saying in the memo that Apple was “making a major effort to reduce human density and ensure those teams that are on-site can do their work safely and with peace of mind.”
The news dovetails with last week’s advice from the major tech companies to staff in California and Washington state, areas with particularly bad outbreaks of the virus, to stay away from the office.