| Cult of Mac

Apple kicks its return-to-office plan back into gear

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The walkway around Apple Park.
Apple Park will soon be busier.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple’s oft-delayed plan to require corporate employees to be in the office three days a week is reportedly back on.

Apple employees are already required to be in the offices two days a week. That will reportedly jump to three days a week starting in early September.

Apple ends face mask mandate for corporate employees at ‘most locations’

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The walkway around Apple Park.
Apple corporate employees will see a lot fewer masks at Apple Park.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly told its corporate employees the company’s face mask requirement is at its end. There are exceptions, though.

In March, the company removed the requirement for workers who had been vaccinated for COVID-19. After Monday’s policy change, it’s mostly come to an end for all employees.

Wait for Apple Studio Display stretches into August

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Wait for Apple Studio Display stretches into August
Global problems are leading to long delays in getting the Apple Studio Display to customers.
Photo: Apple

Anyone wanting a new Apple Studio Display needs to be patient. Order the high-end display now and you could be waiting until August for it. The accessory has apparently run into COVID-related production problems in China.

Unfortunately, there are several other Apple devices with very long wait times.

Here comes that Apple Watch redesign we’ve been waiting for [The CultCast]

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The CultCast podcast: Will Apple Watch Series 8 bring the redesign we've been waiting for?
Will Apple Watch Series 8 bring the redesign we've been waiting for?
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: That big, flat Apple Watch redesign we expected in 2021 might arrive this year to soothe our lingering disappointment. The latest renders by Ian Zelbo, spurred by a tweet from leaker ShrimpApplePro, make Apple Watch Series 8 look quite appealing.

Also on The CultCast:

  • Is Cupertino about to “fix” Apple TV’s biggest problem?
  • The AR/VR headset Apple’s been working on for so long sounds like it’s almost ready for prime time.
  • Apple employees, like many other tech workers these days, just don’t want to report to the office. Who can blame ’em?

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video livestream, embedded below.

This week’s show is sponsored by Jamf Now and Squarespace. See below for special offers.

COVID-19 throws off Apple’s return-to-office plan yet again

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Apple leases new offices near to Apple Park
Getting employees back in Apple Park isn't going smoothly.
Photo: Duncan Sinfield

Apple reportedly slowed the pace at which it will require its corporate employees to return to the office. They were scheduled to be back at their desks three days a week starting later this month, but rising numbers of COVID-19 cases supposedly pushed that back.

Apple employees are still required to be in the offices two days a week.

Workers at Apple supplier Quanta riot over COVID-19 restrictions

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Workers at Apple-supplier Quanta riot over COVID restrictions
Quanta employees clashed with guards on Thursday night.
Photo: RFA

New video out of China shows workers at a MacBook assembly plant in Shanghai fighting with security guards. The Quanta Computer employees have been forced to live at their workplace for weeks amidst COVID-19 lockdowns ordered by the Chinese government.

The workers apparently hoped to leave the facility to go shopping.

Apple pushes February MacBook Pro orders back to June

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Apple pushes February MacBook Pro orders back to June
Buying a high-end MacBook Pro requires money and patience.
Photo: Cult of Mac

People who ordered a top-tier MacBook Pro in February are being notified that it won’t be delivered until June. The delay results from COVID-19 lockdowns in China hampering notebook assembly.

New orders also face delays of several months, making a refurbished 2021 MacBook Pro a better option for some buyers.

New China COVID-19 lockdowns could hit iPhone production hard

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A new wave of lockdowns in China could put Apple millions of units behind on iPhone production.
A new wave of lockdowns in China could put Apple millions of units behind on iPhone production.
Illustration: Cult of Mac

Analysts note that new COVID-19 lockdowns in China are hitting Apple’s supply chain hard. And the pain will likely worsen, with production falling behind by up to 10 million iPhones.

And this is not just about iPhones. Authorities have halted production at three key suppliers for iPhone, iPad and Mac assembly. Meanwhile, Apple is negotiating to reopen production lines, though success could be hard to come by, according to one analyst Friday.

This follows recent news of assembly and shipping delays on built-to-order MacBook Pro models.

Apple employees must begin dragging their sad asses back to the office

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Apple Park Close up
Apple Park will soon be humming with busy employees again.
Photo: Apple

Monday is the day Apple requires its corporate employees to start working in the office some of the time. The pandemic era when most of them could work from home all the time is over.

But everyone doesn’t have to be back in the office five days a week starting today. This is the beginning of a transition period, after which many workers will still be able to work from home a couple days of every week.