3rd November 2014

Apple’s Smart Watch: strategic innovation, or one bite too many?

Emma Victoria Orgill deliberates on the newest addition to the fashion-tech family

With technology advancing within every medium, it is unsurprising that fashion is one of the industries that has embraced it with open arms. From the viewing of live catwalk streams—to models taking ‘selfies’ on the runway, it is now incredibly uncommon for fashion brands to not use technology to the utmost degree. They are examples of two industries that are inextricably connected and without technological reliance, the fashion industry may just be that little bit mundane. Social media applications, internet shopping and Instagram-ing the latest #OOTD is never far from the touch of our fingers, and there is a constant recognition that this is becoming increasingly apparent as part of our daily lives. This realisation usually originates from a technological game-changer that pleasantly invades our lives—Apple.

Since Apple stormed into the market, they have superiorly embraced innovation, whilst still remaining practical for a wide spectrum of generations. Their products appeal to us all in some shape or form, and one of their newest devices particularly hones in the fashion-conscious crowd. And their decision to target the luxury fashion and tech-savvy sector with their latest masterpiece, the ‘Apple Watch’, has created a certain level of fashion-related hype.

With fashion consumers specifically being trend- and tech-orientated, many would consider this is a smart move from an even smarter brand. This is perhaps the furthest their product diversification strategy has reached as a completely new market is being targeted. The wearable accessory acts as much more than a statement time-teller and the instant brand-recognition due to it being an Apple product, is desirable to most. It contains Apple’s recognisable features; elegance, functionality, status and ease of usability and is visually appealing as the sleek product arrives in an array of different colours to suit all the crevices of the fussiest modern-day consumer market.

However, the hard work that comes with such a product does not come without a hefty price tag, and cynicism will evidently still be present. Many would ask: who exactly would buy such an item? Apple have recognised this, and targeted their marketing campaign at the ‘fashionable’ buyer. The understanding they have of their consumer desires is one of their main core competencies as a business. Realising that personal identity is now more commonly than not displayed through our choice of unique style, Apple have already gone that extra mile in recognising that a ‘Smart Watch’ needs to appeal to more than the average smart watch consumer browsing through the array of opinionated, price-comparison websites.

It is therefore almost redundant as a time-telling device and instead, the fashion world has embraced the latest accessory, recognising it as a status symbol, sprinkled with an essence of elegance. Its first recognition from the industry appeared in Vogue China, where model Liu Wen dons the watch on the cover of the publication, whilst speaking highly of the product. A successful strategic marketing decision as many would say, due to the Chinese technological market being the most advanced in the global industry.

Being Apple is enough for most consumers, but this doesn’t mean they don’t have to impress their idealistic market. Previous brands have invented similar products, but the hysteria has not been as intense as they perhaps anticipated. Thorough research suggests that the capabilities of the Apple Watch have the predicted features and more. With competition already out there, it’s a question of will they succeed in their new adventure. They have certainly showed their capability in the past, but with the fashion market being highly volatile—have they taken too much of a risk?

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