Today Apple hosted their semi annual keynote event, featuring details about upgrades and new releases. Included in the tech giant’s presentation was the much anticipated Apple Watch, set for release next month.
Apple on Trend
Apple is fervently trying to express their acknowledgement towards the watch being a fashion conscious product. Much of the watch’s platform has been expressive of a fashion emphasis, indicative of their inclination towards a specific market, seeking to appeal not only as a technological advancement but also as a fashion accessory.
In addition to the functionality, a wearable gadget should also consider style. If that is the case, Apple is probably one of the best technology companies to give a go at merging these two worlds. They are infamous for their proclivity and sensitivity to seamless and aesthetically pleasing design elements, which aim to integrate elegantly and effortlessly with our lives. At this junction, fashion and technology can perhaps find some common ground.
The production of this watch had help from some of fashion’s best designers and experts in the world, including Chester Chipperfield, Angela Ahrendts, Musa Tariq, each formerly from Burberry, Paul Deneve from Yves St. Laurent, Jacob Jordan from Louis Vuitton, and Patrick Pruniaux from Tag Heur. Apple has also been looking to expand their fashion repertoire right down to their point of sale by employing fashion savvy personnel within their retail stores.
To drive this fashionable point home, Apple has made their presence quite known to the fashion world via a twelve page spread in the March issue of Vogue, a cover and editorial feature in the November issue of Vogue China, and a presentation in the keynote by supermodel, Christy Turlington.
Throughout the keynote, Apple stressed the intimate nature of this sort of technology and their meticulous consideration for their consumers’ unique and diverse lifestyles, a concept which takes a page from fashion’s most effective book: the necessity for style to reflect, accommodate and integrate with one’s lifestyle.
This consideration starts with the different types of watches they will offer.
Apple has three primary lifestyle accommodations as represented by the watches:
- The Apple Watch Sport (starting at $349,) which is stylized for a more athletic lifestyle,
- The standard Apple Watch (starting at $549,) which is a more universal or classic stylization.
- The Apple Watch Edition (starting at *cough, cough* $10,000,) which in both style and quality seeks to accommodate a lifestyle that the high fashion market is already well acquainted with. This luxe option will not only endeavor to meet that consumer at their desired value, but also to meet them right where they regularly shop. In addition to their typical longstanding tech retailers like Best Buy, Apple is looking to expand this exclusive watch to retailers with a more fashion-conscious niche, like Selfridge’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Besides the surface aesthetic, the customization possibilities are potentially endless, at each point taking care to integrate style with function. You can customize analog faces, download third-party apps and change out watch bands.
And should the interchangeable bands take any hint from the huge iPhone case market, perhaps there will be even more interchangeable customization options, allowing wearers to not only choose bands according to their lifestyle, but to also switch them out according to their outfit. My iPhone and iPad have accumulated a literal closet of casing options, courtesy of all of the styling options the market offers. Designers from Etsy to Kate Spade to Moschino have found a space in the case frenzy, and the interchangeability of the watch bands are likely to follow suit.
Why a watch may be more practical (and ready for the world) than smart glasses.
Another wearable technology that made waves recently was Google Glass, which the consumer market sorely received. Smart glasses may have been a bit too futuristic for our modern world to integrate into our lives. It gave a pervasive, robotic feel, which we may enjoy seeing in movies, but not in front of our own faces 24/7. In a world that is already far too preoccupied with screens—losing lives to frivolous distractions like texting while driving, or losing time to idle scrolling of social networks—it seems that something that sits in front of our eyes may be a bit more distracting than our already very distracted world can stand.
Is fashion the answer that wearable technology needed?
Furthermore, the glasses only sought to achieve the technology of the idea rather than the necessary styling of it. The Google Glass may have matched a Jetson’s styled spacesuit and hoverboard, but your average consumer would probably prefer to pair their cotton button up and woven trousers with a more congruent pair of bifocals. The glasses came in a one-style-fits-all presentation, thus handicapping the idea by its oversight of the inherent necessity for us to engage with technology and look good, or at the least, coherent, while doing it.
This is where Apple may be onto something. Even if someone doesn’t actually identify with fashion or care about it in the least, we all use some form of it in our daily lives, consciously or not, to express and to function within our own lifestyles. It is not farfetched to conclude that, should you be inviting us to wear a product, technological or otherwise, it should meet us where we already are. It should fit like a great pair of jeans—a comfortable transition, easy to acclimate to—rather than an abrasive catapult to an unprecedented and uninvited futuristic advancement.
The Apple watch avoids those sorts of issues. A watch is much less invasive, begging you to look at it only on your terms, offering you plenty of styling options, again, on your terms. These attentive stylish details of the design will likely create a breakthrough in wearable technology, a subtle introduction, an easing into a world which may, one day, accommodate smart glasses.
Why Apple Watch may still not be ready for primetime
To play the devil’s advocate here, after we get past the surface value, one has to wonder about the actual necessity. Most criticism comes from the assumption that many of us don’t need yet another screen that does essentially the same thing our phones, iPads or computers already do. So the consumer question is, will the added convenience of a small, always accessible, easily wearable screen, so adequately complement or supplement our phones and tablets that we feel the need to shell out hundreds to thousands of dollars on a smart watch? I personally share that hesitation about a very expensive, yet maybe not entirely necessary, watch.
Another viable concern is the pace of technology. I would hesitate investing in an Apple watch over, say, a Rolex because of the rate at which technology becomes obsolete. Rolexes prove their investment in their ability to stand the test of time, in both style and function. Whereas the very nature of technology demands us to keep up with the latest and the greatest, meaning next year, our watches could well be made obsolete or behind the curve with a second generation.
What do you think about wearable technology? Will you be buying an Apple Watch or are you less than convinced?