Apple and Africa - (Product)Red

This article marks my third addition to Neowin and I thought rather than write about something particularly techie I'd give some opinion on Apple's more charitable side. I was having a look on the web last night for some Apple news and stumbled upon this article by the 'Macteens'. I know its a bit dated but I still thought it was quite interesting and worth sharing with you all.

As readers of Neowin.net will probably already be aware, (Product)Red is something which has been around for a while now. Created by U2 frontman and all round charitable chap 'Bono' along with Bobby Shriver of DATA (Debt, AIDS Trade in Africa) and launching itself officially in January 2006. at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; Its a brand which is licensed to partner companies who in turn brand select products or even create new products which are then advertised with the (Product)Red logo.

But why? Well, the idea is that a portion of the profit gained from these select products is donated to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Big names are supporting it as well: American Express, Gap, Microsoft and of course Apple to name but a few.

(Product)Red is a cause which Apple has supported since January 9. 2007 by introducing a special iTunes (Product)Red gift card with $25 of credit loaded. Only available in the US at first, but now in the UK as well via Apple their respective online stores. Apple donates 10% of each sale to the Global Fund ($2.50). Eight months later Apple released their first (Product)Red duo. The iPod Nano and Shuffle. Since then they have supported the cause continually by still providing the Special Edition (Product)Red Shuffle and throughout three more generations of iPod Nano.

This seems a really positive step to fight the good fight, however its been a process which has also been slammed by some critics. Apple happily donated $10 of the $149 priced iPod Nano during the initial stages of the campaign, however now fail to disclose donation amounts. I wondered why this was so I got in touch with an Apple spokesperson at Apple UK to see if I could get my mitts on some figures. I also asked if more Apple products will be sporting the Redness soon. My reply was simple:

"We don't break out the figures for iPod product lines so I can't provide the financial details. We donate a portion of the price of the purchase price of (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition iPod models and iTunes Gift Cards to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa...I cannot comment on what we may or may not do in the future."

I really hope this is a case of Apple being modest when it comes to releasing figures. To be fair, if I'm someone who invests in a product for charitable purposes, I really would like to know how much of the money I'm spending is going to the cause so that I can better appreciate the difference I'm making. Despite its criticisms I've learned a lot researching for this article and I've come to fall a little in love with the (Product)Red brand. I think I might save up for a Nano!

As a conclusion to this article I'd love to ask you all if you'd like to see more Apple products (Product)Red branded? Also, whether you think Apple are doing enough to support this cause or whether you think they've got it covered for now?

All I know is that I've got a Red Incase Hardcase over my MacBook and I must say its pretty nifty...perhaps a possibility? How about a (Product)Red iPhone?

Please comment with ideas and suchlike!

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