Red iPhone Released for AIDS/HIV Charity


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

Apple has released red iPhones in order to raise money for the AIDS epidemic in third world countries.

By Bradley Furgerson, Public Relations Manager

Since the beginning of the technology era, iPhones have been seen as a symbol of status and wealth—a computer in your pocket that carries a heavy price tag. But now, Apple is trying to make it more than just a pricey block of glass and aluminum.
While the United States has seen an unprecedented expansion of medical technological advances, third world countries have been left in the dust and continue to be plagued by outbreaks of sexually transmitted and infectious diseases, according to a CDC release. Now, companies like Apple are taking a stand. Starting Mar. 24, Apple is selling a red version of its iPhone 7, available online and in stores. A portion of the proceeds will be going towards fighting AIDS in third world countries.
“I appreciate the fact that tens of thousands of people are helped through (RED) and the companies they partner with, like Apple,” math teacher Curtis Southworth said.
(RED), the official name of celebrities Bono and Bobby Shriver’s nonprofit organization, provides treatment to those with HIV/AIDS and helps prevent further AIDS outbreaks. The organization was created in 2002 by U2 lead singer Bono and AIDS activis Shriver to cultivate donations from the private sector and direct money flow into the Global Fund to Fight AIDS and Tuberculosis.
According to a Mar. 24 Computer Network article, Apple has steadily become more involved in contributing to the fight against AIDS since Oct. 2006. Beginning with the 2006 launch of the (RED) iPod Nano, $10 of the $199 price tag was donated to the (RED) foundation, which was given to the UN Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Shriver’s initial charity, DATA (which stands for Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) received huge rounds of public funds but failed to attract private investors and companies. (RED) was made to focus specifically on the AIDS portion of the DATA initiative.
“It is really concerning for me to see how little is known about the AIDS endemic in Africa and how there are so few organizations helping,” sophomore Sean Kim said.
According to the (RED) wesbite, HIV/AIDS as well as malaria and tuberculosis outbreaks have led to countless deaths and destruction while also hindering Africa’s development; Africa continues to be plagued by diseases that the rest of the world hasn’t seen outbreaks of in decades.
According to a May 2006 PBS article, Bono explained that anyone who’s been involved in development has seen progress has been undone by the AIDS epidemic.
Other companies that have partnered with the Global Fund through (RED) include Nike, Starbucks and Converse.
“Starbucks believes any effort to fight AIDS, such as the grants the Global Fund makes in Africa, benefits many members of our global community,” Starbucks representative Crystal B said.

“Starbucks supports our partners who have chosen to volunteer their time and money to HIV/AIDS related nonprofits.”
Over the years, Apple has launched more products and campaigns to fundraise for the cause, including more red-colored MP3 players, phone cases and smart tablet covers, and (RED) inspired in-app purchases for the (RED) charity.

According to the Apple website, a portion of profits from sales of (RED) devices, iPhones included, goes toward creating a generation without AIDS.
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of Apple’s partnership with the UN Global Fund and (RED), Apple announced the (RED) iPhone 7 this past March. It is a standard iPhone 7 with no new features, but has a bright red finish to raise both awareness and funds for AIDS prevention programs.
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s press release, the introduction of this special edition iPhone with red finish is the biggest (RED) offering to date.
The (RED) iPhone has been well received by members of the CHS community, especially by sophomore Alec Velikanov, who bought it the day it hit the shelves.
“The exclusive color is very cool, but the charity aspect did make it a lot easier of a decision to buy the phone,” Velikanov said.
According to an Observer survey of 40 CHS students, over 90 percent of the students liked the new red color being offered and liked that the donation went to a worthy cause.
Despite Apple’s move to drop a new shade of iPhone to promote the (RED) brand and raise funds, the new iPhone was not welcomed by all. Many criticisms did not have to do with the iPhone specifically, but rather how much the company truly donates to the Global Fund and how beneficial it is.
Sophomore Carsyn Cramer travels to Zimbabwe almost every year to handout supplies like food, clothes, water filters and school supplies. She also learns what life is like in undeveloped countries.
“When I go to Africa, I see the tragedies that AIDS has caused,” Cramer said. “While I commend companies that help AIDS, I think they should do more to help.”
To date, Apple has donated $130 million in the fight against AIDS. Even though the donation seems like a lot, when compared to Apple’s total revenue, (RED) may not receive as much funding as it seems.
According to a Mar. 24 article on PinkNews, a news service for the LGBT community, Apple’s entire net revenue has been close to $275 billion in the same ten year span that they have been donating to the Global Fund.
However, regardless of any claims against Apple’s charitability, Apple is still the largest donor to the (RED) and the Global Fund.
The new iPhones have been available since Mar. 24. Prices start at $749 for the 4.7” screen model and $869 for the 5.5” screen model.
“I like the new RED iPhone a lot,” sophomore Taran Verma said. “I really hope people buy it.”