Halloween-worthy Razer Zephyr face masks sell out in minutes at $99 each

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Peace, and may nontoxic respiration be with you.
Peace, and may nontoxic respiration be with you.
Photo: Razer

If you decided to walk down to the neighborhood supermarket wearing your new Razer Zephyr “wearable air purifier” and a lab coat, you might cause a major panic. Unless you did it on Halloween, maybe. That’s how “airborne toxic event” these badass things look.

They’d be a little scary even without the lab coat. “Breathe in the future with the Razer Zephyr,” says the company’s website, with seemingly unintentional menace.

D.C. teens get free AirPods with COVID-19 vaccine

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AirPods 2 pairing with iPhone
Aged between 12 and 17? Get vaccinated to get yours.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Washington, D.C., says it will give teens free AirPods — and the chance to win even bigger prizes — for receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.

The promotion, which hopes to encourage widespread adoption for the vaccine among youths, applies to those aged 12 to 17 who get their first shot at one of three sites throughout the city.

Apple asks employees to share their vaccination status ahead of office return

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apple park
Apple employees are gearing up to return to the office.
Photo: Duncan Sinfield

Apple is gearing up to bring more employees back to the office. And that means taking measures to safeguard staff against COVID-19.

According to The Verge reporter Zoe Schiffer, Apple is requesting that employees disclose their current vaccination status with the company in some locations.

“Apple is asking our team members in certain locations to share their current vaccination status,” Apple’s guidance notes. “You can confidentially share whether you’re fully vaccinated, have had a partial dose, are not vaccinated, or do not wish to share.”

Apple closing down internal Slack channels where employees debate remote work

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Slack
Solve the problem or delete the channel?
Photo: Stephen Phillips/Unsplash CC

Apple is closing down internal Slack channels to stop employees discussing remote working options, reports Zoe Schiffer from The Verge.

Many Cupertino employees are currently engaged in a Cold War of sorts with their employer over the remote working arrangement coming out of the coronavirus pandemic. As the arguments flare up among staff, Apple has taken the step of shuttering the Slack channels where these are taking place.

AirPods manufacturers sleep in factory ‘bubbles’ to avoid COVID-19

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Apple has big plans for the AirPods lineup.
It's all part of the effort to contain COVID.
Photo: Omid Armin/Unsplash CC

In order to quell the spread of COVID-19, at least one Apple supplier set up coronavirus “bubbles” for employees on its production lines, essentially sealing off workers from the outside world.

According to a Tuesday report by Nikkei Asia, several factories in Vietnam — including one owned by AirPods manufacturer GoerTek — took this precautionary measure as COVID-19 cases ramp up in the country.

Apple sells 33% more iPads in 2020 than it did the year before

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iPad
How tablet shipments break down.
Photo: Counterpoint Research

The global pandemic was bad for many industries. One sector it was good for was the worldwide tablet market, led by Apple’s iPad. According to a new report by Counterpoint Research, Apple sold a third more iPads in 2020 than it did in 2019. In the first quarter of 2021, it expanded its share to a massive 37% of the global tablet market — including hitting an all-times sales record in Japan.

“The basic iPad models accounted for 56% of the overall iPad shipments in Q1 2021,” said Senior Analyst Liz Lee said. “The iPad Air and iPad Pro series came next with 19% and 18% shares, respectively. Since consumers are constantly concerned about prices and portability, the latest iPad 8 emerged as the top-selling model. Launched in October 2020, the iPad Air 4 ranked second on the bestseller list as it was a huge hit with consumers looking for cost-effectiveness as well as high specifications.”

Apple Stores in US will start dropping mask requirements this week

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Why Apple Watch’s iPhone unlock will change your freakin’ life
Wave goodbye to masks at some Apple Stores.
Photo: Ivan Samkov/Pexels CC

If you’ve been dreaming of seeing the bottom half of people’s faces in Apple Stores (odd dream, admittedly!), you’ll get your wish starting this week as many Apple Stores in the U.S. begin loosening their mask requirements.

This comes as major retailers are increasingly getting back to normal as the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Apple has been one of the more cautious parties when it comes to in-store mask policies. The likes of Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Costco have already ditched mandatory mask rules. But Apple was said to be holding back.

Apple employees expected back in the office in September

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Apple leases new offices near to Apple Park
The Apple Park company HQ will soon be buzzing with activity again.,
Photo: Duncan Sinfield

Apple employees are expected to return to the office this autumn. A memo sent to employees says they should plan to be on the office three days a week, if not more. That includes the company headquarters.

The change comes as COVID-19 infection rates in the U.S. have fallen dramatically in recent weeks.