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Apple’s critical role with the (PRODUCT)RED special edition iPhone

The sales of the Apple's first iPhone to become a (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition device, could give the AIDS programmes a big push

In Apple’s iphone (PRODUCT)RED, there are no specification changes, there are no design changes and there is no new software.
In Apple’s iphone (PRODUCT)RED, there are no specification changes, there are no design changes and there is no new software.

Apple has announced a new addition to the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus line-up. It will be available in India from April. Called the (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition, it isn’t exactly what you may be imagining—there are no specification changes, there are no design changes and there is no new software. Instead, these gorgeous new iPhones plug in to the partnership between Apple, (RED) and the Global Fund, which aims to fight AIDS—and it is the first-time Apple has given the (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition treatment to an iPhone.

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It was in 2006 when Bono, the lead vocalist of the rock band U2, (also a singer-songwriter, musician, venture capitalist, businessman, and philanthropist) and activist Bobby Shriver started a brand licensing company called (RED). But this wasn’t the beginning. In 2002, Shriver and Bono founded a multi-national non-governmental organization called DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa), with the stated purposed of bringing social equality and justice in African countries through debt relief, call for changes to trade rules that are detrimental to African countries, fight the spread of AIDS and even make these countries stronger democracies. In 2004, DATA was one of the founding organizations for the ONE Campaign, a non-profit organization which wanted to secure increased US government funding for international-aid programs.

(RED) has multiple partnerships, including technology companies, fashion labels and even lifestyle brands. Apart from Apple, Coca Cola, Bank of America, Starbucks, Belvedere Vodka, GAP, Mophie, Alessi, Vespa as well as aden+anais are some of the product partners. The promotional partnerships include Google, Twitter, Facebook, HBO and Rolling Stone.

There is a rather wide variety of products that are currently on sale with the (RED) branding—right from a Belvedere Limited edition bottle (750ml; $40), to Kiara sunglasses ($30), Fatboy Original bean bag ($189), and even Dutch DJ’s Dance (RED) saved lives music album ($7.99). When you and I buy a (RED) branded product, as much as 50% of the profit from each sale is sent directly to the Global Fund, which founded in 2002, describes itself as a “partnership organization designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics." (RED) says that it has raised $465 million over the past decade, while the Global Fund claims to mobilize and invest as much as $4 billion every year to support programs run in more than 140 countries. (RED)’s numbers suggest that in 2005, more than 1,200 babies were born globally every day with HIV, and that number is now down to 400 a day.

Where Apple comes into the picture is with the special edition PRODUCT(RED) Special Edition device variants and accessories, which the company has launched over the years. “Apple is the world’s largest corporate donor to the Global Fund, contributing more than $130 million as part of its partnership with (RED)," says Deborah Dugan, (RED) chief executive officer, in an official statement. At present, the Cupertino based company has everything from cases for various generations of the iPhone, smart covers for various iPad, special iPod Touch, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle, Apple Watch Sport variants as well as the Beats Solo 3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, Beats Pill+ Portable Speaker and the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case. Over the years, we have also seen an iPod Classic PRODUCT(RED) Special Edition and even a Mac Pro PRODUCT(RED) Special Edition, which was a one of its kind, and was sold for an eye watering $977,000 at Sotheby’s in November 2013.

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Now, the iPhone 7 (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition and the iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition are added to the list. The pricing of the (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition iPhone 7 variants (will be available in 128GB and 256GB storage options) starts from Rs82,000 and will be available in India from April. Till now, Apple had made special edition versions of many of its other products, but this is the first time we have an iPhone that will give the (RED) a massive boost. It is undoubtedly the most popular product Apple makes, with global appeal, across demographics. There is one guarantee if you buy this special edition phone—apart from contributing towards perhaps making the world a better place, what you will have is a phone that is quite exquisite visually too.

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