Last night, while I was catching up on some of my TV shows, I caught an advertisement for the new Apple Watch. Contrary to my normal habit of quickly fast-forwarding through commercials, I slowed this one way down and paused it at a spot where the face of the watch displays the apps which have been pre-selected to come on every new watch. In the bottom left of the watch I could make out a little green square with two little white leaves on it. It was The Whole Pantry app. Now I do not know if it is because this was a particularly emotional episode of Better Call Saul (even Mike Ehrmantraut lost his cool), but at that moment I felt a small pang of pity for Belle Gibson. Her star was rising and this was supposed to be the beginning of a great career. Of the thousands of health and wellness apps, hers was going to be the flagship Apple Watch app. Whether people wanted it or not, everyone who bought an Apple Watch would have her app (until they deleted it).
I can see how Apple was so taken with Belle Gibson and her app. Here she was, a young, pretty woman overcoming cancer, and glowing with radiance the whole time. How could they resist? They could have a "face" associated with their new product that was not one of the middle-aged guys who run the company. It would be a way to honor the late Steve Jobs, who was also into natural health and wellness. If you know the story of how Steven Jobs died, then this might be a bit macabre, but Apple went with it nonetheless. Belle Gibson was going to prove to the world the thing that Steve Jobs couldn't: good diet and natural wellness could cure cancer. If they only knew.
Before the charity scandal broke, Apple said they had a "big announcement" about Belle and The Whole Pantry coming on Monday, an announcement that never came. What sort of "big plans" did they have in store for Belle? I am guessing that whatever it was, it was set to make her much richer than she ever dreamed of. No doubt Apple believed they would be able to handle the charity money scandal. After all, a large investment of time and money had gone into this. Surely it was cheaper to salvage The Whole Pantry's reputation than to start all over, and, though the Luddite in me has little idea as to how these things actually work, I assumed that the watches were "ready to go" and that removal of the app would be impossible to accomplish so shortly before they went out on the market. The scandal broke over the weekend, so it would just be a matter of coming back to work on Monday, rolling up their sleeves, and dealing with it. But then came the whole "Belle does not actually have cancer" scandal, and this is something that Apple cannot possibly dig themselves out of. They will have to distance themselves from Belle, and quickly. The only thing I can think of is that they will develop or license another wellness app and offer it as a free download. Will they keep Belle's app as simply another option? Will they refuse to sell it on their store? Did Belle Gibson breach her contract with Apple in some way? At the end of the day, my guess is that they will swiftly and quietly sever their relationship with Belle and The Whole Pantry. They will go their separate ways and never speak of it again. Well, at least Apple will never speak of it again. When it comes to Belle, I am dying to hear what she has to say.