Home > technology > gadgets > iPhone Red plays a critical role in Apple’s contribution to fighting AIDS

Apple has announced the latest editions to the iPhone line-up, and they are called the iPhone 8 (Product)Red Special Edition and the iPhone 8 Plus (Product)Red Special Edition. These phones arrive as this year’s successors to the iPhone 7 (Product)Red and the iPhone 7 Plus (Product)Red phones from last year. While the iPhone X doesn’t get its own red coloured variant, it does get a (Product)Red leather folio.

Apple has confirmed that the iPhone 8 (Product)Red Special Edition and the iPhone 8 Plus (Product)Red Special Edition will be available in India from May onwards, with prices starting Rs67,940. The specifications remain the same as the existing iPhone 8 and 8 Plus devices, and will be available in the 64GB and 256GB storage options. The (Product)Red leather folio case for the iPhone X will be priced at Rs7,900.

This does beg the question—what is so special about the (Product)Red devices?

These gorgeous new iPhones plug in to the partnership between Apple, brand licensing company (RED) and The Global Fund, which aims to fight AIDS. This also makes it apparent that the last year’s iPhone 7 line-up in red colour was not a one-off.

In 2002, activist Bobby Shriver and Bono, the lead vocalist of the rock band U2, (also a singer-songwriter, musician, venture capitalist, businessman, and philanthropist to go with the music), 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. By the year 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. In 2006, Bono and Shriver started a brand licensing company called (RED), to further the cause.

As things stand, (RED) says it has already generated more than $500 million for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. (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 Product(Red) Special Edition device variants and accessories, which the company has launched over the years. “Today’s announcement is further evidence of Apple’s leadership in and commitment to the AIDS fight since the beginning of (RED) in 2006," said Deborah Dugan, CEO, (RED), before adding, “The more than $160 million Apple has donated in the last 11 years today equates to more than 800 million days of lifesaving ARV medication that prevents the transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies. We’re honoured that Apple has dedicated its resources to our purpose, and can’t wait to see customers bring our mission to life through the purchase of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition."

It is not just Apple. (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 Rolling Stone, Google, Twitter, Facebook, HBO and Snapchat.

There is a rather wide variety of products that are currently on sale with the (RED) branding—some examples include the Belvedere Limited edition bottle (750ml; around $40), S’well bottle Product(Red) edition ($35), Moleskin special edition Product(Red) notebook ($15.80) and Fatboy Original bean bag ($199). When anyone buys 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 $500 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.

At present, Apple has a rather vast Product(Red) line-up. The latest additions are the new iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus Product(Red) Special Edition phones as well as the leather folio for the iPhone X. The existing products include Product(Red) leather cases for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus and the SE, as well as the Apple Watch Sport Band and the Classic Buckle Product(Red) versions, the Product(Red) variants of the Beats Solo3 headphones and the Beats Pill+ wireless speaker, Product(Red) smart covers for the iPad line-up as well as the Product(Red) edition of the iPod Touch.

Over the years, we have also seen an iPod Classic Product(Red) Special Edition and also 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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