Apple releases new Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable

The news: A new, longer version of Apple’s Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable is now available for purchase.

Sam’s take: Slow news day to be covering a longer cable that released. I know. But hey, it’s actually one of the more reasonably priced Apple accessories out there. The cost to manufacture Thunderbolt cables is quite high, so buying either a 1.8m or 3m version from Apple is legitimately worth it.

Report: Select Apple US retail employees plan on unionizing

There are Apple retail employees concerned about low wages that are not in line with inflation, according to The Washington Post.

  • Some employees state that they are making less money than when they started due to inflation
  • In two stores, Apple Retail employees are backed by major national unions and are ready to file paperwork…and in at least a dozen more stores they are in early discussions
  • Employees say that while the pay is similar to other retail jobs, the other companies aren’t making the revenue that Apple is making

Ian’s Take: I fully support the employees planning on unionizing. Apple’s revenue has grown year over year, and employees are a large part of that. As retail employees sell more products, they make less money. Retail is an essential part of Apple’s business, and they deserve to be paid fairly.

Apple improves benefits for all retail workers with slew of positive changes

The rumor: Working at Apple’s retail stores will be better than ever when the new benefits go live on April 4, according to Mark Gurman (85.5% accurate).

The details, via Bloomberg…

  • Double the paid sick days for part and full-timers
  • More vacation days each year, beginning at 3 years of working (was 5 years)
  • Part-timers get up to 6 paid vacation days, plus parental leave for the first time (up to 6 weeks with work time scaling back up for the first 4 weeks back) and “access to discounted emergency backup care for children or elderly family members”

Our take: This is really good. Some workers have been asking for better benefits for months now, and it’s good that Apple is set to deliver these new benefits in early April. Just straight positives across the board.

Apple launches redesigned Apple Store at apple.com/store

The news: Apple has launched a redesigned online store for their products following a short maintenance period.

  • There’s a new ‘Store’ tab that allows you to see a better spread of the products Apple sells
  • Product category pages inside of the Store tab now include shopping guides, ways to save, “The Apple Difference” and more

Check out the gallery below!

Our take: This new design is a huge upgrade and makes it much easier to see even the small things that Apple has added to their store recently. I hope we see this card-esque styling everywhere on apple.com eventually.

Many Apple Stores to drop mask requirement this week

The rumor: Apple will no longer require vaccinated customers to wear masks in some stores as soon as later this week, according to Mark Gurman (89.1% accurate, via Bloomberg).

  • Select Apple Stores in the United States will no longer require visitors to wear a mask if they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but the policy could vary from place to place
  • Employees will still be required to mask, regardless of immunization status, however

Our take: With the most recent CDC guidance, I was surprised when I was asked to put on a mask earlier last week at my local Apple Store in St. Louis. Glad to see the requirement will be dropped for those of us who have been vaccinated!