[UPDATE 15/01/2021 2:30]: Apple announced it will spend USD100 million to expand opportunities for communities of colour in technology and entrepreneurship. This initiative will come under Apple’s new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative project. More details here.
There’s lots of technology news swirling around thanks to the virtual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Samsung will also be launching its new Galaxy S21 flagship smartphone on 14 January. But there may be another big announcement coming this week courtesy of Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook. The Apple head honcho is set to make an important announcement during a recorded interview that will be aired on ‘CBS This Morning’ on Wednesday 7AM ET (8PM Malaysian time).
The host of the morning show Gayle King who interviewed Cook said he has a significant announcement that is not related to a new product. She said Cook’s announcement is about “something bigger and better” and is “very exciting”.
Here is the tweet from CBS This Morning and the teaser video showing the interview with Tim Cook.
#EXCLUSIVE: @GayleKing spoke with @Apple CEO Tim Cook about the assault on the Capitol and what he thinks needs to happen next.— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 12, 2021
See more of @tim_cook‘s interview Wednesday on @CBSThisMorning when he’ll announce a major new initiative, that’s not a new product. pic.twitter.com/QPYyoDVFv7
Now, there is a good chance that what CBS considers to be very exciting may be different to what you or I may consider “exciting”. According to 9to5Mac, one plausible announcement is Apple’s new iOS14 App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature.
Just to recap, ATT requires apps to obtain consent from users before tracking them across other websites and apps. The feature works by presenting users with a notification that may look the one below. Users will be able to choose between “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not To Track.”
The feature has drawn criticism from social media platforms like Facebook. The Menlo Park-headquartered company and its advertising partners have complained the feature would block them from using Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) to serve targeted ads to Facebook users.
Considering that Apple originally wanted to launch it with the release of iOS 14 in September but had to delay it to early 2021, it wouldn’t be out of the question if this was Apple’s big announcement. Also, the Cupertino-based company has also traditionally emphasised issues surrounding privacy during the same week as CES.
Still, there are, however, other theories being floated on the possible Apple announcement. One other possibility is Apple may announce it would be turning its Apple Stores into COVID-19 vaccine centres. This of course, would be limited only to the US as vaccines are highly regulated in different countries. Analyst Neil Cybart, was among the first to suggest this in a tweet.
An “Apple Stores as vaccination sites” announcement makes sense to me.— Neil Cybart (@neilcybart) January 12, 2021
1) King did the interview at an Apple Store.
2) Vaccines are certainly more important than new products.
3) Apple has been very aggressive in trying to help where it can regarding battling the pandemic.
Despite Apple’s good intentions, the idea of getting a COVID-19 vaccine shot in an Apple Store may be a little strange to some people. While some people may be open to this prospect, there may be others who are less inclined to get a vaccine shot via a large tech company.
Apple could also be announcing that Apple Wallet or the Health app can be used to keep proof of immunisation. There is already early work on this and there are even third-parties in places like Los Angeles that have implemented this idea. A national or global effort from Apple would definitely constitute a “big announcement”.
But it could also be a less “exciting” announcement if it would be Apple saying that it was going to help with the US government’s COVID-19 vaccine operations or logistics, without using Apple Stores are vaccine destinations.
Whatever the case may be, Tim Cook certainly has people’s attention but would it be enough to steal their attention away from Samsung even for a bit? What do you think? Will Apple’s announcement be significant or a complete dud? Let us know in the comments below.