In a bit of odd news, Bloomberg has broke the story that Apple has designed its own face masks in-house and is distributing them to its corporate and retail employees to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Apparently, the new mask, unsurprisingly dubbed the Apple Face Mask, was developed by the Engineering and Industrial Design teams – the same teams that brought the world the iPhone and iPad.
According to what Apple told its employees, the mask is made up of three layers to filter incoming and outgoing particles. Additionally, it can be washed and reused as many as five times.
As for its design, it’s white and minimalist, par for the course for an Apple product, even when it is a disposable face mask. Bloomberg described it as having “large coverings on the top and bottom for the wearer’s nose and chin,” with “adjustable strings to fit around a person’s ears.”
MacRumors, a prominent source of Apple news, was able to source an image of the mask after it was sent to them by an Apple employee. It is pictured below.
Overall, nothing about the mask is too striking, save for perhaps its triangle-shaped nose cover that distinguishes it from the standard surgical masks we’ve become accustomed to. In contrast with its circular bottom end, the nose cover does create a somewhat unusual impression.
In standard Apple fashion, the company told Bloomberg that it conducted careful research and testing to find the right materials to filter the air properly while not disrupting the supply of medical personal protective equipment.
Apple will start sending the Apple Face Mask to staff over the next two weeks. It did not state if it has plans to sell them to its customers. Currently, at least in the US, Apple provides standard surgical face masks to customers visiting its retail stores.
In addition to the white face mask, Apple will also make available a mask with a clear, see-through material, dubbed ClearMask, to its employees too.
Developed by Apple in conjunction with Gallaudet University, which specializes in educating deaf and hard-of-hearing students, the ClearMask is the first fully transparent, FDA-cleared, class II surgical clear mask with full-face visibility. It shows the entire face so that people who are deaf and hard of hearing can understand what the wearer is saying.
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