Apple Watch’s fashion ambitions have virtually vanished

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Apple
Remember the Apple Watch Edition?
Photo: Apple

Today, the Apple Watch is the world’s best-selling smartwatch by a wide margin. But Apple’s strategy for convincing users that it’s important has certainly changed.

A new article notes how Apple has dropped its original ambitions for the Apple Watch as being a fashion-oriented product. And we don’t blame Apple!

The New York Times article recaps the origins of Apple’s fashion ambitions for the device. This included the hyper-expensive gold Apple Watch Edition, and showcasing the device during Paris Fashion Week. Apple also hired a slew of big name fashion executives. These included Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, Tag Heuer’s Patrick Pruniaux, and Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts.

All three of these people have now left (or, in the case of Ahrendts, are leaving) Apple. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch Edition is a long distant memory, as are fashion bloggers being invited to Apple keynotes.

“The Venn overlap is not as great as anyone thought,” Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business, is quoted as saying. “Technology is essentially about creating utility and spreading it over billions of people. Fashion is about creating a moment, a trend, a romance and spreading it across a small amount of influential people.”

A life-saving device

Ultimately, I see Apple Watch’s rebranding as being a case of Apple seeing where the market was headed. Apple products are always going to tread a fine line between tech and fashion. Products like the AirPods are fashionable, as is flashing the latest iPhone. Remember how the iBook was a fixture on the fashion-obsessed Sex and the City back in the day? Exactly!

But the fashionable veneer for Apple Watch’s first generation also masked the fact that it was a product without identity. Apple was still looking for what exactly the Apple Watch did. Now that it’s a bona fide health-tracking device with medical applications, it’s clear that it’s something to be taken seriously.

Source: New York Times