Multiple reports have surfaced claiming that readers have received responses from various Apple employees, including Tim Cook himself. While many letters may not receive responses, others have inspired change at the company, most notably in its recent push into health care.
“According to people familiar with how the process works, Apple Cook has an assistant whose job it is to read the mail, forward some to him for personal attention, and share others to a group distribution list of executives on the relevant teams,” reads the report. “They forward the letters to their reports, and so on down the chain. Many of these “Dear Tim” letters are ultimately passed around by rank-and-file employees, according to one current and two former employees.”
Apple’s original intention (at least not its primary) with the Apple Watch wasn’t its use as a potentially life-saving device. But after users began notifying the company of how the smartwatch had, on more than one instance, saved people’s lives, Apple began to shift its focus more on health-related features.
“One former employee described the letters as a surprise, as no one expected the heart rate tracker to pick up on irregularities that indicated more serious problems,” the report continued. “Another former employee said the heart-related letters showed Apple could have a much more positive impact on health than anybody at the company had previously realized.”
The letters were also especially meaningful for Apple engineers, who have internal roles and aren’t able to meet with users. Apple is obviously a secretive company, so engineers can’t speak about their work. These letters provided a much-needed morale boost for many Apple employees.
“It was a new day for Apple when the letters started coming in,” said Julz Arny, who works on special projects for fitness at Apple, during a recent panel discussion at the company’s San Francisco Apple Store.
“People weren’t writing love letters (in the same way) about Calendar,” Arny explained. “Everyone internally finds that to be so exciting.”