Is Apple a Tech or a fashion company?

The Apple Watch is upon us and it’s certainly creating waves, some good and some bad. One thing is for sure, The folks at Apple are betting big on the Apple Watch as the redemptive push in a post Steve Jobs era.

Another article on the Apple Watch? Well you’ll find loads of articles online talking about the watch itself. That is not the purpose of this article. What I find fascinating is Apple’s approach to communication and advertising. It had been talked about for some time but I was interested to see how they might market the product.

The transformation of Apple

Over the years, I’ve become increasingly unsure as to whether Apple is a tech company or a fashion company. Is it possible to be both? Well I suppose they’re proving it is, but Apple as a brand is a status, an aspirational symbol to be seen with and on the wish list of most people. Whether you have a laptop, an iPhone, or now the Apple Watch, being seen with one says something about you, and for most, they like that. Apple’s products are certainly functional (most of the time) but as a brand, their positioning characteristics align more closely with those brands in the fashion industry than the technology industry. I mean Apple’s messaging for the latest iPhone 6 was “it’s thinner and bigger” and people still flocked to stores to get them. The technology industry waived their fists in frustration and the people still purchased.

Fashion focus

For me, the Apple Watch is another step in the fashion direction and with such a focus on aesthetic, I have no doubt, many will buy without considering its functionality. It’s not to say the product isn’t going to be great and valuable in our every day lives but the jury is out on that and yet sales will soar because of the status symbol. Check out Apple’s advertising strategy for the Watch and the range of prices. Does it feel like a technology company? For me, it feels like fashion. Oh and watch out for Karl Lagerfeld sporting one on his wrist.


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