Steve Jobs

Seems to me the big question hovering over Apple and Tim Cook – should they or should they not introduce a cheaper iPhone next month, perhaps for the China market? – is actually obvious, or would have been so to Mr Cook’s predecessor, Steve Jobs. Yes, they should, and it shouldn’t necessarily be for China. Or not just for China. Why do I think this? Fashion, my dear Watson.

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We all know that part of Steve Jobs’ genius was taking the rules of fashion and applying them to technology, be it the importance of must-have seasonal design, or gadgets that are actually accessories, and hence identity totems. As Michel Kors pointed out to me recently, however, fashion has never exactly turned the tables; it hasn’t figured out what it should absorb from Apple. Well, today BCG is publishing a paper that suggests things might be changing. They have pinpointed a lesson. And they want the luxury world to learn it.

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Reading my newspaper over coffee this morning, I almost fell out of my chair while perusing a tech story on Google, Amazon et al, which ended with the following observation: “Google, Microsoft and Amazon all have the potential to adopt Apple’s vertical model of combining software, services and hardware to gain complete control over the design and function of future mobile devices.” Because the thing is, dear reader, it’s not “Apple’s approach” exactly – or it is, but Apple got it from somewhere else first. And where would that be? Fashion, of course.
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So Google has unveiled its disruptive hardware technology, Google glass, the smart headgear that the googlers told the FT showed the company “had a healthy disrespect for the impossible.” Maybe so. But looking at the pictures of founder Sergey Brin in the things, not to mention the naturally beauteous models they have posted on their product site looking windblown and ecstatic with their heads bisected by some sort of metallic band, I also think they have a disrespect for the importance of style that may not be healthy for sales. Read more

The Vanity Fair New Establishment 100 list has just been unveiled, and its criteria for picking “the 100 most influential” are increasingly impenetrable. Read more