Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said at the annual general meeting that the new virus was a “challenge” for the company. Apple has closed factories and stores across China as a result of the new virus, and the tech giant is facing major problems by producing hundreds of millions of devices a year in China.
Earlier this month, the company said it could not meet its current quarterly earnings forecast of more than $63 billion due to limited iPhone supply and falling retail sales in China. Since then, about 30 of Apple’s 42 stores in China have reopened, and suppliers and large foundry makers are gradually returning to production, but some analysts say the impact of the virus could drag on into the fiscal quarter ending in June.
Speaking at Apple’s annual general meeting in Cupertino, California, on Wednesday, Mr. Cook said that wearable devices such as the AirPods and Apple Watch earn as many annual revenues as Marriott International and Visa combined. That’s more than $40 billion. Apple reported revenue of $10 billion in the first quarter of its wearables, home and accessories division.
In response to questions from shareholders, Mr Cook said Apple would open its first store in India this year and its first store slatein in 2021.
Cook also made his first public comments about Apple’s refusal to unlock the iPhone of the man behind the December 2019 shooting in Pensacola, Florida, that killed three people. “Don’t think we have something and don’t take it out, ” Cook said, adding that Apple would not create a “back door” to hack into its own devices.
Mr Cook was also asked why Apple had not purchased the rights to the US drama Friends for its Apple TV-plus streaming video service. He replied that the company was focused on developing original programming rather than buying old content.
Mr Cook’s comments at the annual general meeting at the annual general meeting could sometimes hint at what Apple will launch, saying at the 2019 conference that AirPods would have a “long and great roadmap” ahead. His comments came just weeks after Apple unveiled its new AirPods, followed by the AirPods Pro in October of the same year.
Cook didn’t specify any future products at this year’s conference, but the company is working on a new 5G iPhone, to be released later this year, Bloomberg reported. Apple also plans to launch a virtual reality (VR) headset as early as 2021, the report said. It is unclear whether these plans will be affected by the new coronavirus outbreak.
Apple shareholders voted to re-elect the company’s board members at the conference, with Mr Cook and al Gore, a former US vice-president, among them.