From the Editor's Desk: The elephant in the room — Apple and China

iPhone XS taking photo in Chinatown
iPhone XS taking photo in Chinatown (Image credit: iMore)

There are a few times when political issues cross paths with tech. For those of us that cover tech, we struggle with the best possible way to cover hot button issues while trying to be unbiased as possible. What I learned in college while studying for my journalism BA is that there is no such thing as "truly unbiased" because we're humans and we have opinions. The best we can do is try.

Right now, there is a very important discussion being had about how companies are reacting to the Chinese government's pressure to suppress information in the United States. And tech companies are a part of that discussion. Apple is a part of that discussion. There are dozens of companies, tech and otherwise, that are also a part of the discussion, but I'm not here to run down that list (you can actually see that discussion on reddit). So here we are, people who write about tech, covering global politics as it relates to our wheelhouse.

It's difficult to do because we understand that our readers have a wide variety of political opinions and live around the world, and we don't ever want to alienate anyone. We're going to cover the topic because it's important. How Apple deals with pressure from China is in our wheelhouse. We cover Apple, We can't just skip over it. There's likely to be a lot more to come in the coming months.

What I ask of you, our fans and our friends, is to keep things civil. We love when you comment. We want to hear your voice. Whether you agree with how Apple handles pressure from China or are so mad you're considering switching to Android because of Apple's recent actions (not that Google doesn't have it's own problematic issues to deal with, we respect your opinion. We hope that you'll respect others' opinions, too. We all come from different backgrounds and places around the world. We can have different opinions and carry on civil conversations about those opinions.

We will continue to write about all the fun things we love about Apple products and give you tips and advice on the best ways to get the most out of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. But we'll also continue to write about some things that aren't so fun, like Apple's reactions to pressure from China. Let's all just remember that we're human beings with feelings behind our keyboards.

  • Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

  • Well said. Thanks
  • There are a lot of self-righteous people writing articles and commenting about how "bad" Apple is for removing an app that has been outlawed in China. Apple is being lawful, following the laws of another country. If a Chinese company was given certain restriction on its products or services in the USA, would these same people be admonishing that Chinese company for removing or amending one of their products to comply with American laws?... Of course not! Those individuals who have been so critical of Apple's following the laws in China, are really the hypocrites! When those individuals were in school or in a job where they had rules that must be followed, or be expelled or fired, they followed those rules so that they could continue their education or employment... Even if they did not like to follow some of the rules or disagreed with them. Those individuals also follow the laws in their city, state, and country, even if they find some laws restrictive or against their beliefs, or else they risk being fined or losing their freedom. Apple has done the right thing in following the law, just as those self-righteous people who have criticized Apple, must also do the right thing and follow the laws.
  • There is huge different between what is law and what is just. There are plenty of rules and laws that were on the books until recently that would be considered backwards and even barbaric. So lets act like nuance does exist and there is a in depth conversation to be had.
  • Tim Cook is nothing more than a craven coward. Happily talks tough on "human/lgbt rights" when it suits him but when his Chinese & Saudi Arabian masters show displeasure he shuts right up like the good little lapdog he is. Cook has turned Apple into his personal soapbox and the sooner he is shown the door the better off Apple will be. Not even Ballmer was this bad.
  • I appreciate the broaching of the subject of Apple and China. However facts are facts as iMore should report them. I don't think iMore should shrink from because it involves politics. Politics and tech intercepts nearly every portion of our lives. It's not only impossible not to talk about politics how it would relate to tech, it would be a dereliction.
  • This seems to indicate that the app didn't actually violate Chinese law: Of course that won't prevent China from punishing Apple in whatever way they see fit. I hope Tim Cook will remember some of the things he has said in the past, for example his recent commencement addresses at universities.
  • I'm OK with iMore biting the hand (Apple) that feeds us all with delicious iPhones and other cool products; as an independent publication covering Apple you really should report on the company as well as it products, and not shy away from criticism of either. Apple can handle its own marketing, after all.
  • "Principles" - a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning. If Apple's principles are about social justice, lgbtq equality, environmental consciousness, and all the rest, then its stance on Hong Kong - putting profits above principles, is no different than the NBA's genuflection to Beijing. Situational ethics are a slippery slope for everyone involved, and these are peoples lives at stake. You cannot hide behind "we are following their laws" - that's what condemned millions to death in Europe. It's one thing to decide whether we go to war over human rights, but a far worse thing to prop it up for our own capitalistic profit making agenda.
  • Tim Cook is nothing more than a hypocrite.
  • "We try to avoid talking about political issues here at iMore, but sometimes it can't be avoided and Apple's involvement with China is one of those times." Actually you avoided it just fine. This has to be the most opinionless opinion piece I've read in a long time. It reminds me of the sign I used to pass by, years ago. Every day it had some new message of wisdom or wit. One day it said, "My boss told me to change the sign, so I did." You wanted to say something about Apple & China so you did... but really you didn't. Oh well.