Apple is refusing to say how much money from its special edition iPhone is going to AIDS charities.
Today, the company’s special red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus goes on sale, with a hefty $919 (£919) price tag for the most expensive model.
The phone was prominently marketed to consumers as “an unprecedented way to contribute to the Global Fund and bring the world a step closer to an AIDS-free generation”.
But despite the claim appearing in promotional material, the company is refusing to explain how much of the profit will actually go to charity, following multiple requests from PinkNews.
The small print on Apple’s website specifies that only an unspecified “contribution” will go to charity from each purchase, despite Apple’s high profit margins on the lucratively popular device.
The phone was launched as part of a partnership with (RED), a non-profit entity which specialises in AIDS-themed brand deals with corporations. (RED) does not carry out any primary HIV/AIDS work itself – instead contributing to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.
PinkNews has repeatedly asked both Apple and (RED) to clarify how much Apple’s charitable contribution will be from the sale of each phone, and how much will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.
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A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment, pointing a release that explains the company has “raised $130 million” across the entirety of its ten-year partnership with (RED).
Though the number may seem high, it works out at 0.01% of the company’s estimated $1.25 trillion net revenue over the same period, which netted the company $274 billion profit.
As part of its (RED) partnership, Apple has launched a string of similar products in the past – including special edition iPods, speakers and even Apple Watches that touted their link to fighting AIDS. The iPhone, however is its most expensive to date.
(RED) did not respond to any of our multiple requests for comment – though curiously one of our emails sent to (RED) appears to have been opened in Cupertino, California, where Apple’s headquarters is located.
Despite the lack of reply, the PinkNews email was opened over a hundred times.
In a release, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said: “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.
“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.”
Deborah Dugan, (RED)’s CEO, said: “Apple is the world’s largest corporate donor to the Global Fund, contributing more than $130 million as part of its partnership with (RED).
“Combining the global reach of the world’s most loved smartphone with our efforts to provide access to life-saving ARV medication in sub-Saharan Africa, customers now have a remarkable opportunity to make a difference and contribute to the Global Fund through the purchase of this new beautiful (PRODUCT)RED iPhone.”