My wife – in the early days of just-dating – threw out my orange, baggy, linen shirt. I liked it because all my other clothes were safe, dull, grey. I liked it because it made a statement.
John Waters, the film director, has just written a book on hitchhiking. During an interview on my new fave podcast, Fresh Air *, he revealed that his favorite suit is plaid – and the top half and the bottom half don’t match. Except they do match at the back. That makes a statement.
Reuters just wrote up a piece stating that Fossil watches and Intel are going to work together to create what might be the ultimate in wearables – the next great smart watch. But something is missing: It’s not making a statement.
This is a “gunner” statement, as they say in Australia. As in “we’re gunner create a smart watch”. But the issue here is that while one makes a pretty and pretty-cheap watch, the other produces a chip that lives inside a computer. So what’s missing from that picture: computing!
Elsewhere on Reuters today we’re told that all eyes are on Apple.
Apple’s rivals hope its iWatch makes ‘wearable’ work
Well, it’s not surprising that all eyes are on Apple – for example the FT this weekend shows the share price soaring again before the announcement of a new iPhone (#6) this week.
And recently, you may recall, Apple took Patrick Pruniaux from TAG Heuer where he was vice-president of sales. Take care, Swiss watch makers or you’ll have a Kodak moment.
The reuters article asks what a ‘wearable’ really is:
Know what a “Wearable” is? Most top tech executives would struggle to define it. Now they’re hoping that Apple will do it for them.
It’s up to Apple to lead the market once again. To do what it did for music when it launched the iPod. Other MP3 players existed. But few can name an MP3 player other than the iPod. This week we’ll see Apple lead the tech world once again.
Dave Trott, a famous London adman, launched a new agency some years ago now. His website at the time hosted a video of him chatting to the camera. He told a story about his agency’s approach:
Two explorers are walking through the jungle.
Suddenly they hear a tiger roar.
One explorer sits down and takes a pair of running shoes out of his backpack.
‘You’re crazy, you’ll never out-run a tiger,’ says the other explorer.
‘I don’t have to out-run the tiger,’ he replies.
‘I just have to out-run you.’
Dave Trott summed up his tale as a demonstration of predatory thinking. His way of describing the whole point of good advertising: reframing the point of focus to attain an unfair competitive advantage. A clear statement.
And that’s what Apple is up to. Apple makes a 40% margin on a phone; it’ll only make a tiny margin on new services like payment systems. But that payment system will give it another unfair competitive advantage.
It is creating more stuff to “wrap tentacles” around it’s customer, making it harder for anyone to ever actually make the switch to Android. If your wallet becomes your phone – and vice versa – the FT concludes, you’ll not be likely to switch to another operating system.
That’s a statement that Apple is making to the market. And it’s a statement that’ll make it’s share price double in the next eighteen months.
That’s my statement on Apple’s wearables … and we’ve not even mentioned Apple’s current and forthcoming healthcare tools, apps and services. Nor the data that Apple is gathering through keeping you in their ecosystem.**
But beware of my statements. As my wife pointed out with my orange shirt, some statements are just plain wrong.
* Thank you Meredith for introducing this podcast to me. Am loving Fresh Air. As well as This American Life.
** I’ve talked before about wearables & their data trail. Here’s an intro to the talk I gave at Spikes 2013. https://listeningtostories.com/2013/09/02/were-watching-you-all-the-time-and-thats-a-good-thing/