Apple's Ahrendts hire highlights obvious: Tech is about fashion now

Apple's Ahrendts hire highlights obvious: Tech is about fashion now

Summary: Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts brings customer experience, fashion, design and tech cred to Apple's already powerful retail business.

SHARE:
TOPICS: CXO, Apple, Mobility
17

It's not about technology specs, the latest processor or even functionality. Technology is increasingly about fashion. Smart watches, Google Glass and smartphones where the biggest distinguishing characteristic is the color palette highlight where the tech industry is going.

angela apple

Apple intends on leading that fashion charge.

The company said that it has hired Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to lead Apple's retail efforts. Ahrendts brings a lot of credibility to Apple. To wit:

  • Ahrendts gets technology and has been one of Salesforce.com's leading customer references.

  • She understands design — a prerequisite at Apple.

  • And knows how technology and design can meld with fashion to improve the customer experience.

  • In other words, Ahrendts is highly likely to do good things with Apple's retail operation. She will have "oversight of the strategic direction, expansion and operation of both Apple retail and online stores."

  • Ahrendts, who will leave Burberry in the spring, gives Burberry a nice transition period. The broader picture here is that tech has become more about fashion than anything else. 

Earlier: Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts joins Apple, abandons eyewear for iPads

Sure, specifications matter, but color matters too. Devices are becoming accessories. Sensors will be built into clothes to track movement and other tasks. Toss in buying fatigue for devices and technology companies need some new tricks to get you to buy. The new trick is likely to be fashion. Exhibit A is the gold-ish iPhone 5c.

Here's the catch: Most device makers don't get fashion. Is Google Glass fashionable? How about that Samsung smart watch that isn't likely to have Rolex quaking anytime soon?

Apple sees where the ball is going with its Ahrendts hire. Now look for other tech companies to start raiding retail to find execs.

Topics: CXO, Apple, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

17 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • In Britain, Burberry is associated with Chavs:

    The Oxford Dictionary, in 2013 defines Chav as an informal British derogatory meaning a young lower-class person who displays brash and loutish behaviour and wears real or imitation designer clothes.

    The stereotype of a chav includes wearing branded designer sportswear, which may be accompanied by some form of gold jewellery otherwise termed as "bling".



    Classy!



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chav
    Boothy_p
    • From Chav to Fashionista.... Wiki that term as well... haha

      The luxury brand with a chequered past, Burberry's shaken off its chav image to become the fashionistas' favourite once more

      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1023460/Burberrys-shaken-chav-image-fashionistas-favourite-more.html#ixzz2hnqHg2wL
      Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
      SamsRoid
      • I'm sorry

        Did you just try and quote the Daily Mail (female section) and use it as an factual argument????

        Go back to your sofa and sleep
        Boothy_p
  • Larry, Larry, Larry

    YOUR tech. might be about fashion, your ZDNET APPL apologists tech. might be about fashion ...
    ... but OUR IT is about information, technology and computing.

    I'm only kidding: what I really wanted to happen was for MSFT to hire the lady and double the price of the Surface tablets ... providing they came in attractive covers ;-)
    jacksonjohn
    • TOP CEO

      ... and that's why she is a Top CEO and you are not.
      SamsRoid
  • She's not a desinger, she's a marketer.

    Ms. Ahrendts won't be anywhere near product design at Apple any more than she is at Burberry.
    matthew_maurice
    • Can you say it again, Matthew?

      Pulllleeeeeaaaaaasssssssseeeeeeeeeeee??? :P
      Champ_Kind
  • She's not a desinger, she's a marketer.

    Ms. Ahrendts won't be anywhere near product design at Apple any more than she is at Burberry.
    matthew_maurice
  • She's not a desinger, she's a marketer.

    Ms. Ahrendts won't be anywhere near product design at Apple any more than she is at Burberry.
    matthew_maurice
  • She's not a desinger, she's a marketer.

    Ms. Ahrendts won't be anywhere near product design at Apple any more than she is at Burberry.
    matthew_maurice
  • This is what you do when need to build a legend

    Apple is not longer the market leader, or the self proclaimed inventor of everything in the universe so know they are going to use hype and perceived value to try to increase sales. Perhaps we shall see a solid gold Chav-Phone and diamond Bling-Pad?
    techietubby
  • Fashion

    "tech has become more about fashion than anything else."

    Too right. Why else would one buy an Apple device... :-)

    BTW, I enjoyed SamsRoid's "The luxury brand with a chequered past". Did he get the aural pun in there or was it deliberate?... (Burberrry was/is famous for its checks...just in case somebody here did not know...)
    DAS01
  • That's Apple, for sure

    They have nearly ALWAYS been about fashion. Apple was the first luxury brand in computers. And one of the few luxury brands in consumer electronics. You're paying twice as much for an Apple product as a similar one from other companies, quite often. That's why Apple's making about 5x as much on a Mac PC as HP makes on one of their PCs. That's the luxury market defined.

    It's fairly good, at least if you're an Apple shareholder, to see the new Apple administration understands this. I think under SJ, luxury was just what he did. But having been so successful at it, it would be foolish for Apple to move much away from that. Ahrendts hire is a pretty good bet they know that. As was the whole "iPhone in 5 colors" thing, particularly the seemingly intentional shortages of the "gold" model. Luxury products are, pretty much, about artificial value in extreme excess of the item's functional value.
    Hazydave
  • Ahrendts at Apple

    Last time there was an interesting piece about Angela Ahrendts's planned move to Apple on Newsnight, the BBC's daily flagship current affairs programme.

    An analyst pointed out -- against a gushing tide -- that while AA might have been successful at Burberry and 'got' IT/technology, she was a very big fish in a small pond, and the IT was just introducing some modern methods within her organisation. At Apple she will be a not so big fish in a *very* large pond -- Apple being many times larger than Burberry -- and the technology at Apple is a whole different ballgame.

    By the end of 2014 we should know...
    DAS01
    • Size of Fish

      I did not see Newsnight so cannot feel smug about agreeing with whom ever said this - but that was my thought. Not so much about the different markets - but their size and the difference in company cultures.

      Get an upvote for mentioning the BBC and not the Daily Hate as the person above
      sonnet37
  • Lasts Longer than Browett ?

    I hope she lasts longer than the last 'top hire' to run the Apple Shops. John Browett lasted 6 months before being turfed out.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/10379517/Why-new-Apple-retail-chiefs-British-predecessor-John-Browett-was-fired.html

    If they had done the announcement a few weeks earlier, they could have saved the iPhone 5c with a Burberry signature checked cover :-)
    neil.postlethwaite
  • New direction for the enterprise

    To be competitive is no longer about performance but personal style. With the right stylist anyone can aspire to the highest office, move right on to the top.
    primartcloud