Apple teased a ‘big announcement’ this week when a clip of an interview with CEO Tim Cook aired on a US TV network, and the news has nothing to do with the iPhone 13 or any other new Apple product.
The CBS show This Morning aired a preview of an interview with Cook on Tuesday. The interviewer Gayle King said tomorrow’s segment will feature an announcement “bigger and better” than a new product.
“What we’re going to tell you about tomorrow is very exciting news,” King said of the interview, which took place at an Apple Store.
While Tuesday’s hints remained vague, Apple may have given us our answer when it announced a series of new projects as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) this morning.
These announcements included the launch of the Propel Center, a global innovation and learning hub created to support students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The Propel Center will include a virtual platform, a physical campus in the Atlanta University Center and on-campus activations at partner institutions, and will offer a range of educational tracks from AI and machine learning to social justice to creative arts.
Apple also announced plans to open its first US Developer Academy with two different programmes to support coding and tech education in Detroit, as well as new partnerships offering venture capital funding for black and brown entrepreneurs.
The aim of these new REJI projects is to create more opportunities for people of colour and to help build the next generation of diverse leaders.
“We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment”, explained Cook this morning.
“We’re launching REJI’s latest initiatives with partners across a broad range of industries and backgrounds — from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community organisers to justice advocates — working together to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long. We are honoured to help bring this vision to bear, and to match our words and actions to the values of equity and inclusion we have always prized at Apple”.
Apple first announced REJI last June in response to Black Lives Matter protests held worldwide during the summer. The initiative is led by Apple’s VP of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa Jackson.
In the portion of the interview aired by CBS on Tuesday, Cook reacted to the ongoing unrest in the United States, following the insurrection by supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump at the Capitol building in Washington D.C. last week.
He told King (via 9to5Mac): “I think it’s key that people be held accountable for it. This is not something that should skate. This is something we’ve got to be very serious about, and understand, and then we need to move forward.
“I think no one is above the law. That’s the great thing about our country, we’re a rule of law country. I think everyone who had a part in it needs to be held accountable. I don’t think we should let it go. I think holding people accountable is important.”