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Many people throughout the US opted not to get a life-saving COVID-19 vaccine, despite its widespread availability throughout the spring and summer. Now coronavirus cases and deaths are ticking up across the US as we head into the fall, raising alarms with health officials and, apparently, Apple too.
The tech giant’s already told employees it’s delaying return-to-office plans until October at the earliest, mirroring moves from 2020 when companies began shifting schedules in response to worsening conditions. Apple was one of the first major companies to warn about disruptions from the coronavirus back in February of last year, a full month before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic and governments around the world started instituting lockdowns. Rumors are already swirling that Apple’s next major product announcement will be held virtually as well.
The coronavirus could be making a comeback despite vaccination efforts.
On Tuesday afternoon, it may take another more public step when CEO Tim Cook is inevitably asked questions about the pandemic by Wall Street analysts following the release of the company’s fiscal third-quarter results. And more eyes than usual may be on Cook as he speaks.
Apple’s fiscal third quarter, which falls in the spring months ended in June, is typically the last earnings release before the company announces its next slate of iPhones. But last year at this time, Cook & Co. warned investors the iPhone would be delayed “a few weeks” from its typical September launch. There’s good reason to believe Apple could pull a repeat performance, due to the combination of deepening coronavirus cases around the world and warnings from major chip buyers and manufacturers that product shortages may stretch another year or more.
“We have a long way to go yet,” Pat Gelsinger, head of chipmaking giant Intel, told the Wall Street Journal last week.
Apple’s still expected to report $1 of profit per share, according to analyst surveys published by Yahoo. That…