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Apple’s Latest Product Suggests Switch To Luxury Retail

And We’re Not Talking About The iPhone 6

The iPhone 6 was officially unveiled yesterday, but the real interest lies with the company’s latest, slightly secondary, release – the Apple Watch.

The Watch – we’ll talk about why it’s not the iWatch in a bit – allows people to send emails, make calls and launch apps from their wrist. It sounds very similar to the Motorola Moto 360 or the Hicon ‘social bangle’; though undoubtedly Tim Cook’s latest invention is more subtly and beautifully designed than the other, unfortunately rather clunky, options. The smart watch arena is a burgeoning market, and one which Apple is keen to dominate.

Doubters are asking whether the Apple Watch does enough to kick-start a hitherto lacklustre market. Experts are suggesting that, yes, it does. James McQuivey, an analyst at research firm Forrester, told that BBC that: ‘I think it is very clearly one of those moments. People know they need watches, they know they need smartphones, and Apple has made a combination of those things that is better than each of them’.

Where the Watch may fall down however, is the fact that other than being a watch as opposed to a phone, there is nothing particularly novel or different that it can offer – there is no killer app on the device, as it is more a collection of existing benefits offered by Apple. This may well appeal to those who already spend most of their days surgically attached to their phones (with the Watch it will quite literally never leave your clasp), but it is unlikely that the Watch will convince non-believers to turn Apple, let alone turn digital.

Indeed, Apple is not marketing its watch at technophobes or newbies. The Watch, naturally, is only compatible with an iPhone and costs a hefty £216. This is a product that is designed for those consumers who are already digital, and looking to take their technological portfolio to the next level.

This takes us to the question of why the Watch isn’t called the iWatch? Surely this would have been the logical choice in terms of brand image and cohesion. But the answer can be found if we look at the potential direction that Cook seems to be taking the company; moving away from the innovative and technologically creative world of Jobs, Cook seems keener to guide Apple towards a more retail and fashion-focused audience. With the launch of the Watch, Apple has made it clear that they are targeting a new type of customer interested in luxury goods as opposed to technological specs – the fact that the ex-heads of Burberry and Yves Saint Laurent are behind the latest product launch is testament to this.

Despite Facebook and Twitter being in existence for nigh on a decade, Apple is conspicuously absent from social media and social networks. There is no company page or activity, but this may be very slowly set to change - Angela Ahrendts of Burberry, has endeavoured to move the brand towards a more active social presence with the help of her hand-picked team consisting of globals digital strategy head John Agnew and digital marketing director Musa Tariq. Both came from Nike, where Tariq was head of social media and community.


So there’s no ‘i’ in the Watch, but what does the little ‘i’ stand for anyway? The first ‘i’ in Apple’s history was the iMac – the candy-coloured computer which saved Jobs from going under before his time. The ‘i’ was to make it clear that the machine was designed for the internet, but, as is the marketing department at Apple’s wish, there are a string of other adjectives that can be added to the ‘i’ – individual, imaginative, intuitive, interconnected, indispensable.

The ‘i’ branding has since been used across all of the company’s devices (iPods, iPhones, iPads) so much so that it has become synonymous with Apple; the fact that their latest product has purposefully rebuffed the ‘i’ strongly suggests that there’s changes ahead for Apple. The brand seems to be moving from the 'single narrator' (the late, great Steve Jobs) dictating what people wanted and needed, to a new model which speaks in multiple voices and is open to the two-way engagement with its consumers and fans that is engendered on social media.


Recent graduate and now interning as content editor, when she's not writing articles Katie can quite likely be found festival-ing, holiday-ing or reading a book (dedicated English student that she is). Follow her @KatieAtSMF.

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Apple’s Latest Product Suggests Switch To Luxury Retail Reviewed by Katie Rowley on Thursday, September 11, 2014 Rating: 5
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