Tech

This is Apple's COVID-19 face mask

It looks like any other product from the company.

Mark Gurman

The same design teams that work on the iPhone and iPad have created a new face mask exclusively for employees. The Apple Face Mask is being distributed to corporate employees, while retail staff are being given a different mask that was designed elsewhere.

We already heard that Apple was planning to distribute an in-house designed mask, but hadn't seen what it actually looked like until Bloomberg got its hands on pictures today.

The Face Mask consists of three layers to filter incoming and outgoing particles. It can be washed and reused up to five times. Speaking to Bloomberg, Apple said it conducted careful research to find the right materials to filter air properly while not limiting the supply of materials for medical equipment. Apple's corporate campuses are still mostly closed but it sounds like the company is sending the masks to all employees regardless.

Only the best — The Face Mask is packaged just like any other Apple product such as the Apple Watch, with a sleek white box and graphics showing how to use the mask. The mask features an adjustable band for comfort and large coverings on the top and bottom for the wearer's nose and chin. We kind of want one, honestly. If Apple announced it was going to start selling these to the public for $299 we wouldn't be surprised to see fanboys scoop them up in minutes.

Store challenges — For retail staff, Apple is distributing masks from a company called ClearMask. As the name implies, the mask is fully transparent to show the wearer's full face. Apple chose these so that customers who are deaf or hard of hearing can read lips and better understand what staff are saying. It conveniently should also make FaceID work better.

The ClearMask is FDA-approved and Apple worked with Gallaudet University, which specializes in educating people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, to choose the mask.

Apple retail stores across the U.S. have been reopening in fits and starts, only to close again as coronavirus spikes in some areas following the lifting of isolation mandates. Most locations are storefront service only, meaning customers can't wander inside but instead need an employee to assist them out front.

ClearMask