Is Apple About Fashion or Technology?

I think it is only appropriate that the words Apple and fashion are used in the same sentence. Apple is a consumer electronics company, with innovative technology embedded in the ethos of the company. Fashion is somewhat of a style thing, you know, usually associated with today's clothing designers. So, why are both of these distinctly unconnected words used in the same sentence? Well, after reading an article called As Apple Edges Closer to Fashion, Questions Arise, I came to the conclusion that Apple has taken design thinking and design innovation privileges to an entirely new level, far beyond what companies could have imagined. It's no surprise that both design thinking and design innovation can be tied to fashion and tech. Here's what John Maeda has to say.

Design has always been about the substantive and the superficial at the same time. It's what makes its relationship with technology enigmatic, integral and seductive. Over time, we have seen the two ebb and flow, each taking their turn in the driver's seat.

I am not sure if either substantive or superficial are in the driver's seat for Apple. I think both of them are in driver's seat at the same time. There have been questions surrounding the Apple brand as to whether Apple is edging closer to fashion or not. That question really doesn't matter for the business community at large. What does matter is the substantive and superficial characteristics discussed above in the article. In my 20 years of being a loyal Apple consumer, I don't look at my Apple laptop or desktop as substance over look and feel. I look at it as a representation of my personality. My computer is creative and provides me an outlet to express myself and be creative. My iPad is known for being innovative and creative, also an expressive tool for me the user to show my true self. The so-called superficial component is part of the aura that Apple has so that the consumer can find the right Apple product that best fits their personality. It's amazing that technology, which is made with plastic, metal, glass, wires and circuit boards can make consumers so excited. That's not substance or superficial. That's brand moxie.

Let's change gears for a moment. Maybe Apple's strategic plan is to integrate even more design sense into every product they build. I think it's a great idea. Since April 1976, Apple has continued to develop computers and other consumer electronics that help people like me be more creative, innovative and, well... fashionable in our own sort of way. After all, designing and creating a website, editing a video, scoring music, creating graphics for a brochure, these are all things that have style written all over them. Remember when the iMac was introduced with a multicolored shell? Was that cool or what? That was Apple's way of saying; we're into consumer style, not just computing.

Today, the iPad, iPod, iPhone and iMac are all stylish in a classic Apple sort of way. Sleek interfaces, colorful designs, innovative user experiences and stylish boxes have become the norm for Apple. The word stylish may not exactly fit in with the real meaning of the word computer. Maybe that's why Apple dropped the word computer from their name back in early 2007. Either way, the words Apple, fashion and technology do go hand in hand, whether you're buying a laptop, desktop or many of their hand-held devices. Apple appears to have the corner on the market in figuring out what consumers want before the consumer even knows what they want. Wow! Now that's taking predicative analytics to a whole new level.

The question here shouldn't be, is Apple about fashion or technology? More appropriately, the question should be, how in the world does Apple keep coming up with new and different products that sell and are analogous to both fashion and technology? As far as I am concerned, fashion and technology do go hand and hand. Apple, thanks for dropping the word computer from your name and thanks for being the fashionista that you are. Apple may be a fruit in the minds of some, but is life and style in the minds of others.

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