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While the coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to stand-still tech companies are still working. It looks like Apple has been planning to launch a host of new hardware even as most of the company’s employees are working from home.
The company is known for some of the strictest measures in the industry, forcing employees to work behind closed doors and not allowing them to talk about their work on new hardware with their spouses. However, since the employees have been working from home, Apple has eased some of the rules and is allowing employees to take devices home with them.
In early March, in a contrast to its normal practices, Apple started allowing engineers to take home early versions of future devices to continue work during the lockdown period. Previously, the company allowed select employees to take home nearly complete devices such as iPhones for real world testing.
As part of the work-from-home order, Apple has clamped down on which employees are allowed to take home future versions of software, including the next release of iOS, the platform that runs the iPhone and iPad. Like with hardware, employees working on unreleased software, such as the upcoming iOS 14, require approval from the highest levels of the organization, the people said.
According to Bloomberg, the company is working on new versions of the HomePod speaker, Apple TV set-top box, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch and iMac for as early as later this year.
Even as Apple has allowed employees to take home the devices, the company is still reminding them to uphold the NDA and not share information with others. In a notice to staff, Apple said, “whether you’re working at home or at the office, it’s always critical to keep confidential work confidential. While working remotely, use the same care and always securely store confidential items and documents when not in use.”
Apple is just one of the companies impacted by the crisis and the company is trying everything to help keep the morale up. It even started a contest asking employees to share photos of their work from home setup. The last guideline reads: “If you’re working on anything confidential, please keep it out of the shot.”