By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Burberry, Yves-Saint Laurent, Nike. These are some of the most enduring brands in fashion and lifestyle. industries that generate billions of dollars by setting trends and by creating products that people might not really need, but are so desirable that lots of people want. Apple's recently hired key personnel from these fashion-forward companies and as this will likely help Apple as it moves forward as not just a consumer electronics and computing powerhouse but as a lifestyle brand.
The iPod is a lifestyle product. It was about cutting edge technology that enabled people to carry their entire music collections on one device, but looking at the advertising as well as way the product was marketed through the years, it was a fashion accessory as well.
Apple's latest iPhones are, likewise, closer to bespoke jewellery than off-the rack communication devices. No other company has been able to approximate the fine detail, the micron-level construction and overall look and feel of the iPhone 5 and 5s. With the new gold, silver and space grey colours, the iPhone 5s isn't just going for cutting edge technology, it is evolving into a fashion object.
Apple recently hired Paul Deneve, former head of fashion house Yves Saint Laurent to work on "special projects' under Apple Tim Cook. They also hired former Nike design director Ben Shaffer who is a wearable prodcts innovator. What's interesting about Nike is the FuelBand project (a product that's interested Tim Cook for some time).
The most high profile fashion hire for Apple has been Burberry's former CEO Angela Ahrendts an avowed E-commerce and retail wiz with a nose for business expansion. Ahrendts takes over where John Browett left off (a short-tenured stint) and Ron Johnson ( who can be credited for the blueprint of Apple's Retail Store strategy).
Ahrendts, who starts next year as senior vice president of retail and online stores, gives Apple a definite advantage not just in evolving their Retail Store experience, customer service but also bringing some fresh insight into e-commerce experience. She also brings refreshing diversity to Apple's mostly male executive team.
Apple is being smart by hiring outside of the usual pool of technologists and Silicon Valley figures. New ideas, perspective from other disciplines and industries can only serve to create better products and experiences moving forward.
Apple Campus 2 is a Go
The monolithic Apple Campus 2 was given unanimous approval by the Cupertino City council, which means the massive office campus designed by starchitect Norman Foster is due to break ground anytime soon. Also called "the spaceship", the campus was pitched to the Cupertino City council by Steve Jobs himself shortly after he stepped down as CEO in 2011.
Apple has quickly outgrown the campus at One Infinite Loop and has taken over various nearby and offsite buildings. But as the company and its products and services continue to grow, there is a need for a larger campus.
Campus 2 will begin with a 2.8 million square foot ring-shaped structure along with multiple parking facilities, a fitness center, and an auditorium and peach trees which are natural to the area. A second phase will construct offices with an additional 600,000 square feet of space.
October 22 Event Coverage
I will be in San Francisco to cover the "We still have a lot to cover," Apple Event for Canadian Reviewer as well as various outlets that I've been know to write for. Thanks to Roam Mobility for providing me roaming data during the duration of my trip and for the live event coverage while in San Francisco.
This is an exciting event because it coincides with Tim Cook's statement at WWDC regarding exciting new products in the Fall. Looking at last year's October event, which I missed because my son had just been born, we saw a new iPad and the iPad mini as well as a slew of desktop and portable releases including the new ultra-thin iMac. This year, we've got OS X Mavericks, new iPad and iPad mini as well as possible notebooks and desktops and maybe even an AppleTV refresh. No one really knows. Unlike the iPhone 5c and 5s which were leaked left and right, the products for next weeks announcement will likely be a huge surprise.