The red iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus that everybody’s been waiting for is finally here. Apple has just released the (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in a beautifully vibrant, yet somehow subtle, aluminum finish. The special edition phone marks 10 years of association between Apple and (RED).
However, according to a new report from TechCrunch, Apple has decided to market the red iPhone without the charitable (PRODUCT)RED tag in China, perhaps attempting to avoid associating the phone with AIDS.
Apple has historically painted some of its products red in order to support and spread awareness for HIV/AIDS in support of the charity (Red). These products are launched the (PRODUCT)RED moniker which helps the company generate a sizable chunk of additional funds for the charity.
The absence of any charity branding in China could be a response to the country’s cultural skittishness around the AIDS crisis. HIV is on the rise in China, accounting for about 3 per cent of new HIV cases worldwide, and 2 per cent of the total global HIV-positive population.
There are more than 500,000 people living with HIV in China as of 2014, but there continues to be a strong social taboo.
Apple is making the devices available across 40 countries, starting at $779 USD (or $1029 CAD), to raise more funds for the charity in the coming months. It is debuting the device in April, after pre-orders begin this Friday.
“Since we began working with (RED) 10 years ago, our customers have made a significant impact in fighting the spread of AIDS through the purchase of our products, from the original iPod nano (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition all the way to today’s lineup of Beats products and accessories for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
“The introduction of this special edition iPhone in a gorgeous red finish is our biggest (PRODUCT)RED offering to date in celebration of our partnership with (RED), and we can’t wait to get it into customers’ hands,” he added.
Update: MacRumors got confirmation from Apple CEO Tim Cook that each red iPhone 7 sold in China will still donate to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, despite lack of RED branding:
MacRumors’ question: We noticed the (PRODUCT)RED branding is missing from the new red iPhone 7 on the China Apple website. Will you be donating any of the proceeds from the phone’s China sales to the HIV/AIDs cause anyway?
Tim Cook’s response: We donate to the Global Fund on every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus we sell in every country in the world.