Special edition Product Red Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
The new special edition Product Red iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were made for a good cause, but they’re currently under the microscope for a somewhat controversial reason. Apple

Apple unveiled the Product Red iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus on Tuesday along with the new 9.7-inch iPad 2017. The new special edition mobile phones were made for a good cause, but they’re currently under the microscope for a somewhat controversial reason.

The red versions of its current flagship smartphones represent Apple’s support for (RED), an organisation that raises awareness and funds to help eradicate HIV and AIDS. The “new” iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus variants are Apple’s way of celebrating a decade of partnership with the charity institution. The Product Red-branded handsets were most noticeable in all of Apple’s regional websites – each and every single one of them – except for the one in China.

Apple did not include the AIDS charity branding for its red mobile phones in China, where iPhones are considered as status symbols. The Chinese Apple website doesn’t make use or mention the Product Red branding (stylised as “(PRODUCT)RED”). Everything else about the products is included, though, including their launch date and time.

According to TechCrunch, the Cupertino, California-based company may have made the move to avoid compromising its rather fragile relationship with the country’s government by getting involved in what is considered a controversial subject matter in China. With the removal of the Product Red branding from its iPhones, Apple is believed to be trying its best not to upset one of the world’s largest markets.

“We donate to the Global Fund on every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus we sell in every country in the world,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook when he was asked by MacRumors if the company would still be donating any of the proceeds from the sales of the Product Red iPhones in China to raise HIV and AIDS awareness. At least it’s good to know that only the branding is lost, not the cause.

Launched in 2006, (RED) intends to eliminate the spread of HIV and AIDS with the proceeds from its Product Red merchandise. Apple has been with the charity group since the beginning. The first Apple device to have the Product Red branding was the iPod nano. The special edition MP3 player was launched on October of that same year.

“Apple is the world’s largest corporate donor to the Global Fund, contributing more than US$130 million (AU$169.7 million) as part of its partnership with (RED),” said Deborah Dugan, the charity organisation’s CEO. “Combining the global reach of the world’s most loved smartphone with our efforts to provide access to life-saving ARV medication in sub-Saharan Africa, customers now have a remarkable opportunity to make a difference and contribute to the Global Fund through the purchase of this new beautiful Product Red iPhone.”