Apple will continue working from home until June 2021, Cook told employees

Discussing work through the coronavirus pandemic in a virtual town hall meeting with employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook said many employees will probably continue working from home until Summer 2021, suggesting the company may be more flexible about remote work.

Due to the challenging work environment in recent months, Apple employees in many regions will get an additional paid holiday scheduled for January 4, the CEO added. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman relays what Cook told staff in terms of working from home:

There’s no replacement for face-to-face collaboration, but we have also learned a great deal about how we can get our work done outside of the office without sacrificing productivity or results. All of these learnings are important. When we’re on the other side of this pandemic, we will preserve everything that is great about Apple while incorporating the best of our transformations this year.

Dan Riccio, Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering at Apple, explained that remote-working Apple engineers had to use special augmented reality software to guide technicians in China due to travel restrictions:

Apple worked around this, with engineers controlling robots from home and using iPads with augmented-reality software to guide technicians in overseas factories, Riccio said. Staff also worked different hours to communicate better with staff already stationed in China. The ‘very best is yet to come,’ Riccio added.

Apple’s head of custom chip development Johny Srouji told staff that Apple’s long-rumored custom cellular modem went into development earlier this year, indicating the Cupertino technology giant will eventually ditch Qualcomm like it ditched Intel. As the last tidbit, Apple’s AI and machine learning chief John Giannandrea has revealed to employees that the release of the Apple Watch hand washing feature was moved up to this year due to COVID-19.