In partnership with nonprofit Product (RED), Apple added a brand-new, bright ruby red iPhone to its roster: The iPhone (RED). Like the company’s (RED) iPod Nano, (RED) Beats headphones, and (RED) Smart Battery cases, the launch is intended to promote ongoing efforts by Product (RED) to combat HIV and AIDS, which remains one of the globe’s worst health problems. More than 35 million people have died of the virus, and 37 million are infected each year, according to Product (RED).
As with Apple’s other Product (RED)-branded devices, a portion of every iPhone (RED) sale will be donated to The Global Fund, a charitable organization that finances HIV/AIDS grants to roughly half a dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa. “This is the biggest day in our 10-year partnership, (RED) CEO Deb Dugan told Mashable. “[We’ve] seen from the time we’ve begun with Apple that more than 18 million people have effective treatment. Having Apple make this very big statement, it takes our breath away.”
Our first look at the red hot iPhone
The iPhone (RED) is officially available in Apple Stores, so we stopped by to see what the fuss is all about.
What’s clear is Apple needs to make more iPhone colors — the iPhone (RED) is drop-dead gorgeous. The matte, ruby red finish on the back attracts the eye, but hardly any fingerprints. The Product (RED) logo sits below the iPhone, and the antennas around the phone blend in more so it looks a little sleeker than the other colors. Apart from that, you should expect the same build quality and style of the iPhone 7.
The only downside is that Apple did not make the front red like the back. Instead, you get a white front along with a silver accented home button.
The iPhone (RED) is another notch in Apple’s belt in its fight against HIV and AIDS. The iPhone maker has made a tradition of marking World AIDS Day with a campaign to donate to Product (RED), and in 2012, it teamed up with Starbucks to offer a special iTunes eBasket that saw 5 percent of proceeds donated to The Global Fund.
Availbility and pricing
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Special Edition (RED) is now available online and in stores. The design is the only difference between the Product (RED) phones and the current iPhone 7 and 7 Plus devices — functionally speaking, they’re the same.
Here’s how the pricing breaks down:
- iPhone 7 128 GB: $750
- iPhone 7 256 GB: $850
- iPhone 7 Plus 128 GB: $870
- iPhone 7 Plus 256 GB: $970
Apple said the percentage of each sale that goes to Product (RED) varies by channel, but historically, the iPhone maker has been one of the charity’s biggest contributors. It has donated $130 million to the cause thus far — an amount that’s more than many countries have contributed, according to Dugan. Apple will try to inform potential buyers about Product (RED)’s mission through posters, pamphlets, and other promotional materials.
Controversy in China
There was some initial blowback to the iPhone (RED) in China — about how the announcement and product page on Apple’s Chinese site are completely devoid of Product (RED) branding. The limited-edition model is slated to land in more than 40 countries in April, and while China is one of them, it appears that Apple made the change to avoid pushback over what is a murky, taboo subject in the country.
The omission is even more strange considering Apple China pledged its support to Product (RED) late last year, as pointed out by Engadget China’s editor-in-chief, Richard Lai, on Twitter. The company’s Taiwan site retained the branding, which indicates there’s more than a language problem at work here. Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed to MacRumors that the company “will donate to the Global Fund on every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus [sold] in every country in the world.” Apparently, even though the name has been scrubbed, sales of the limited-edition iPhone in China will continue to benefit the charity.
This article was originally published on 03-21-2017. Updated on 03-24-2017 by Julian Chokkattu: Added hands-on images of the iPhone (RED).