What is the market looking for?
That is the question AppleCore CEO Daniel Sandoval and Emilio Ulibarri asked each other during the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sandoval had just brought on Ulibarri in early March as vice president of business development to increase sales of the “lightly used” Apple computers that Sandoval upgrades and customizes at his Cordova Road shop.
Then New Mexico went into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. People didn’t seem to be buying used Apples while sheltering in place, though AppleCore saw enough Apple repair jobs to keep the business afloat.
Sandoval launched AppleCore in 2017 to sell secondhand Apple products at an affordable price. He carries MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, iMacs, iPads and iPhones, typically at half the retail price or less.
While upgrading, customizing and repairing Apples, Sandoval for the past couple of years has been tinkering with creating a virus-removal key for Apple products. Then the pandemic hit and e-commerce shot off like a rocket.
How could AppleCore hitch a ride on the rocket? Sandoval asked his new hire, Ulibarri, for ideas. Selling Macs online was a nonstarter because AppleCore didn’t have the volume of computers, and paying shipping charges did not make business sense.
“We researched what was selling best. It was backup devices,” Ulibarri said.
The idea of product development and e-commerce appealed to Sandoval.
“We have to do something for passive income,” Sandoval said. “We have to do something to make money while we sleep.”
Backup hard drives were once the size of a video cassette. Now they are the size of a cellphone. Still, the storage device remains tethered to a cord, Sandoval said.
He created the AppleCore SMART Backup stick — a USB drive that automatically backs up as much as 480 gigabytes of data and downloads at 430 to 600 megabytes per second. A 1 terabyte backup stick is also available.
AppleCore released the $159 SMART Backup stick Dec. 1 on Amazon and Walmart.com, and so far 188 sticks have sold.
“No cords,” Sandoval said. “Cords are a thing of the past. The ease of use is incredible. You just have to plug it in.”