After Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared on CBS This Morning earlier in the week and revealed the tech giant was set to announce something 'bigger and better' than a new product, speculation was rife. What could it possibly be? Luckily the world didn't have long to wait, as shortly after Cook's interview, Apple revealed its plans form part of the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), announced last year, which pledged $100 million pledge to combat injustice and address systematic racism around the globe.
Apple is opening two learning establishments, linked to the diverse communities it seeks to support. These include the Propel Centre (a global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and an Apple Developer Academy to support tech and coding education for students in Detroit. Also announced is a venture capital fund for black and brown entrepreneurs.
There's been no shortage of Apple product leaks and announcements lately, with the M1 chip bringing the MacBook to a new level (and therefore rivalling the best laptops for graphic design), so it's refreshing to see the company switch focus to this initiative.
Led by Apple's vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, the initiative drives Apple's promise to advance racial equity in the economy, education and the criminal justice system.
"Every individual deserves equal access to opportunity regardless of skin colour or zip code," stated Jackson. "For too long, communities of colour have faced gross injustices and institutional barriers to their pursuit of the American dream, and we are proud to lend our voices and resources to build new engines of opportunity that empower, inspire, and create meaningful change."
Responses have been overwhelmingly positive:
Your point is well taken, and I like the way you think. Skipping a physical buildout could possibly happen sooner. But we’ve seen so many digital divide initiatives end up incomplete I’m looking for physical proof.January 13, 2021
Yeah, me too, thank you AppleJanuary 13, 2021
They do help people a lot more than other tech companies. I was surprised to see this on the AppleCare page on people who are struggling financially right now pic.twitter.com/ryivfb4DhlJanuary 13, 2021
It has to be mentioned that rumours were flying over what Apple was set to announce, with the prevalent theory being that the company may be gearing up to offer its stores up as vaccination sites. Given many of the tech giant's stores have been closed for sometime now, space is something Apple has in spades. Perhaps this will still happen in the future?
Other Twitterers had a range of diverse ideas about what the announcement could be, and some theories are believable enough that we may look out for them in the future.
A secure social media platform. #iSocialJanuary 13, 2021
pic.twitter.com/pFQ5jpv8MUJanuary 12, 2021
Was also my idea.January 12, 2021
Based on all these rumours, Apple's announcement was unexpected but very welcome. It's great to see such a huge brand using its weight to affect change, and we look forward to seeing how this initiative continues to play out. Want to find out more of Apple's (slightly more frivolous) future plans? Check out this list of wild Apple patents we wish would come true.