Apple Watch Coming in April // Still Missing on Fashion

apple watch

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced April 2015 ship date of the Apple Watch.  Image Source: Fashionista

Part of this week’s record-breaking earnings call from Apple included a long-anticipated announcement of the Apple Watch ship date, which will start selling April 2015. While Apple has invested in making the design sleek, I argue that they are still missing on the fashion piece.

Yes, we’ve seen tech innovation dabble in runways and high-fashion editorials (see DVF and Vogue trying to make Google Glass chic) but the adoption and interest from the fashion world has not picked up. (Worth noting: Google Glass recently halted sales to restructure and reassess the project.)

vogue google glass

Vogue used Google Glasses in their 2013 September issue editorial feature “The Final Frontier.” Image Source: Vogue

Apple is trying to engage the fashion crowd, though. When it announced the watch back in September, a slew of fashion influencers were invited to the press event.  Apple also stacked its executive team with industry folks including Burberry’s Angela Ahrendts, YSL CEO Paul Deneve and Patrick Pruniaux of Tag Heuer.  While that’s a great strategy (here we are talking about it), this alone will not make Apple Watches “desirable.”

I remain skeptical that the Apple Watch will take off with the fashion crowd. I’d like to see more wearable tech a la Tory Burch, Rebecca Minkoff and Opening Ceremony, which while maybe not as useful as an Apple Watch, at least made style a top priority.  Smaller players, too, are claiming stakes in the fashion x wearable tech market.  Cuff, a smart jewelry company just closed a $5M fundraising round.

cuff startup

Cuff, a wearable tech (“smart”) jewelry start-up recently closed a $5M funding round. Image Source: TechCrunch

Maybe Apple needs to collaborate with a high-fashion partner or bring on a high-fashion creative director. Otherwise, it has an interesting road ahead at joining the fashion industry or targeting a different demographic.

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WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 1.26.2015

Happy Monday! Below is a recap of fashion, retail, and tech news from the last week. Each article is accessible via the hyperlinked text after the headline.

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Gap shutting down Piperlime. Link
  • J.C. Penney resurrects its catalog after killing it five years ago. Link
  • SpaceX raises $1B in new funding from Google and Fidelity. Link
  • Overstock.com plans streaming-video service. Link
  • Amazon says Sunday deliveries have quadrupled. Link
  • Coming to Whole Foods: bars and restaurants. Link
  • WalMart to offer service to give U.S. tax refunds in cash. Link
  • Target launches plus-size clothing line. Link
  • Michael Kors may see halo effect from Michelle Obama’s suit. Link
  • Sportswear giants Nike and Adidas embracing fashion. Link
  • Amazon pulls its own brand of diapers after short test. Link
  • Ford opens a lab in Silicon Valley. Link
  • The aging of Abercrombie and Fitch. Link
  • eBay cuts 7% of workforce. Link
  • J.Crew’s CEO to retire from Apple’s board. Link
  • Expedia acquires Travelocity for $280M. Link
  • Yahoo turns to retail to bring journalists’ voices to life. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Victoria’s Secret unveils Super Bowl spot and social push. Link
  • Complex buys fanboys site Collider for growing media network. Link
  • Refinery29 hires video chief from Scripps network, looks to traditional TV. Link
  • Tumblr starts its own internal creative studio. Link
  • Pinterest plans ad offensive. Link
  • Tumblr rolls out network to match top creators with brands. Link
  • NBC started a Tumblr for Super Bowl ads. Link
  • Snapchat loses revenue chief amid moneymaking effort. Link
  • Facebook plans voice-to-text Messenger. Link
  • WhatsApp is now available in web browsers. Link
  • Pinterest: We have male users too. Link
  • Twitter now shows you tweets from when you were away. Link
  • How Kik plans to steal Snapchat’s teen hearts. Link

Start-ups:

  • Apple acquires Semetric, a data analysis company. Link
  • Button raises $12M to the app world as interconnected as the web. Link
  • This tech jewelry startup has Andreessen Horowitz down on a bended knee. Link
  • Pinterest buys small startup Kosei for smarter recommendations. Link
  • A gift card startup just raised $56M, at a nearly $1B valuation. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • Twitter buys ZipDial, an Indian startup. Link
  • LVMH invests in China outlet malls. Link
  • China opens the door for foreign companies to operate online portals. Link
  • As China becomes the iPhone’s largest market, look for Apple’s tax charge to rise. Link

[CA]

  • Nordstrom better positioned than Target to take on Canada. Link
  • Why Target’s Canada expansion failed. Link

[LATAM]

  • Macy’s launches collection to woo Latina shoppers. Link

[AU/NZ]

  • Zara Home will open next month in Australia. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Amazon to fold its mobile wallet beta. Link
  • Victoria’s Secret’s catalog gets a mobile boost for Valentine’s Day. Link
  • As Google looks to expand Wallet use, WePay integrates instant buy API. Link
  • Wawa challenges Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks with in-app mobile payments and loyalty. Link
  • How the number one app, Trivia Crack, cracked Apple’s app store. Link
  • Apple’s iOS 8 crisis continues with controversial new bug. Link
  • Blackberry announces BBM support for wearable technology. Link 

Other:

  • How Starwood Hotels plans to redesign the check-in process. Link
  • Mattel CEO resigns as Barbie parent company struggles for relevance. Link
  • SkyMall files for bankruptcy protection. Link

WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 1.19.2015

Happy Monday! Below is a recap of industry news in fashion, retail, and technology. All sources can be found in the hyper-linked text after the headline.

Retailer + Brand News:

  • NastyGal CEO steps down. Link
  • Under Armour overtakes Adidas in U.S. sportswear market. Link
  • Why teens have abandoned stores like Wet Seal, Delia’s and Deb Shops. Link
  • Traditional stores still trounce ecommerce when it comes to returns, new survey says. Link
  • Demandware snags point-of-sale provider Tomax to extend reach from web to store. Link
  • Holiday spending reached a three-year peak in 2014. Link
  • Etsy crafts IPO putting NY tech companies back on the map. Link
  • Banana Republic to show at New York Fashion Week for the first time. Link
  • DVF fuels IPO speculations. Link
  • Urban Outfitters’ holiday sales jump; namesake brand returns to positive growth. Link
  • Indiegogo signals a blending of crowdfunding and commerce. Link
  • Wet Seal stock dives after filing for bankruptcy. Link
  • Kate Spade Saturday x West Elm collection is here. Link
  • Why Lilly Pulitzer for Target is going where no capsule collection has gone before. Link
  • eBay smart mirrors at Nordstrom and Rebecca Minkoff stores. Link
  • Ralph Lauren is pushing higher into luxury with new stores, accessories. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Facebook rolls out a platform for professionals called Facebook at Work. Link
  • Marc Jacobs unveils new campaign with social media models. Link
  • Xpire brings “disappearing” posts to Twitter. Link
  • Facebook offers artificial intelligence tech to open source group. Link
  • ‘Pinfluencers’ are getting paid, Pinterest itself not so much. Link
  • MySpace still reaches 50 Million people each month. Link
  • Facebook aquihires top members of influential design firm Teehan+Lax. Link
  • Tinder captures brand dollars with Gillette deal. Link
  • Five ways brands can use Snapchat to take back control of the retail experience. Link
  • YouTube plans Super Bowl halftime show with online stars (and fake Super Bowl ads). Link

Start-ups:

  • Kevin Rose leaves Google Ventures to work full-time on his mobile app development startup. Link
  • ClosetSpace brings fashion inspiration and recommendations to your smartphone. Link
  • Video chat app Rounds raises $12M in new funding led by Sequoia. Link
  • Italist is like shopping the streets of Italy but online. Link
  • True Fit raises $15M to give apparel shoppers confidence online. Link
  • Grocery delivery start-up Instacart raises $220M. Link
  • Big Data startup MongoDB is now valued at $1.6B. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • How Dominos reinvented itself in India. Link
  • Uniqlo owner promises to improve working conditions in China. Link
  • Alibaba launching effort to woo US retailers. Link
  • Alibaba buys controlling stake in Chinese internet marketing firm AdChina. Link

[EU]

  • Amazon’s tax deal with Luxembourg may break rules, EU regulator says. Link
  • ASOS shares jump on strong Christmas sales. Link

[CA]

  • Target closing Canadian operations. Link

[LATAM]

  • Nintendo pulls the plug on Brazil. Link

[AU/NZ]

  • eBay launches click-and-collect in Australia. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Turn old clothes into cash with these mobile apps. Link
  • Mobile commerce in 2015. Link
  • Google to launch Project Ara market pilot in Puerto Rico later this year. Link
  • Mobile app use isn’t replacing mobile web usage but driving it. Link
  • Google Play’s app store and developer community grew faster than Apple’s in 2014. Link
  • Microsoft announces a Skype for iOS testing program. Link
  • Google launches classroom mobile apps for Android and iOS. Link
  • Apple Watch companion app features said to include activity reminders, phone unlock. Link
  • Apple and Ericsson sue each other over mobile patents. Link
  • Google translate app gets an upgrade. Link
  • Booking.com tries to personalize hotel choices with new app. Link
  • Google is in talks to acquire mobile payments service, Softcard. Link

Other:

  • Apple patent shakes GoPro’s stock. Link
  • IBM wins most patents but Google and Apple climb in rankings. Link
  • Google Domains launches to all in U.S. with support for blogger integration, templates and more domain endings. Link
  • Google Glass sales halted but firm says kit is not dead. Link
  • Google is bidding for a Pentagon contract worth more than $2B. Link

WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 1.12.2015

Hi there!

Below is a recap of news in fashion, retail, and technology over the last week. All sources can be found in the hyper-linked text after each headline:

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Free delivery creates holiday boon for U.S. consumers at high cost. Link
  • Coach to acquire Stuart Weitzman in $574M deal. Link
  • U.S. Postal Services says package deliveries rose 18% in December. Link
  • C.Wonder shutters operations. Link
  • First look at the new furniture Ikea is bringing to the U.S. Link
  • J.C. Penney closing 39 stores in April. Link
  • Target’s next partnership: Lilly Pulitzer. Link
  • Forever 21 embarking on biggest expansion to date; will open 50 new stores in next three years. Link
  • Google wants to sell you auto insurance. Link
  • Holiday web sales grow almost 14%. Link
  • Payments business will bypass banks. Link
  • Fab.com founder to start Bezar.com, an online pop-up marketplace for modern design. Link
  • Modcloth co-founder exists; Urban Outfitters’ Matt Kaness joins as CEO. Link
  • H&M links with Coachella for festival fare. Link
  • Macy’s revamps to reflect shifting shopper. Link
  • Zara to open more than a dozen new stores in U.S. this year. Link
  • J.C. Penny and Macy’s to shut stores and lay off employees. Link
  • Apple touts U.S. job creation, says app stores sales rose 50%. Link
  • Macy’s mulls taking on T.J. Maxx, Nordstrom Rack in “off-price” wars. Link
  • Kate Spade, Michael Kors shares decline as discount concerns spread. Link
  • Wet Seal closing two-thirds of its stores. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Twitter planning to sell ads on apps and other sites. Link 
  • Zuckerberg’s endorsement sends book flying up the charts. Link
  • Rival social networks gain users but Facebook captures more attention. Link 
  • Americans use more online social networks. Link
  • After conquering Asia, the Selfie Stick does Las Vegas. Link
  • Office Depot and Office Max unveil first combined brand push. Link
  • McDonald’s launches next step in brand refresh with ‘Signs’ campaign with a Tumblr component. Link
  • CES gadgets and gizmos offer marketers a new bag of tricks. Link
  • Nike and AKQA turn people’s running data into 100,000 unique videos. Link 

Start-ups:

  • Jet is the new trendy ecommerce site. Link
  • Cuff raises $5M and partners with Richline to bring smart jewelry to the mainstream. Link
  • This company lets you try on fitness trackers, Warby Parker style. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • Abercrombie & Fitch launches 10 new ecommerce sites in Asia. Link
  • Uber tests cargo delivery service in Hong Kong. Link
  • Uniqlo global sales soar. Link

[EU]

  • Click and Collect overtakes home delivery at John Lewis. Link
  • Five ways technology could shape UK retail in 2015. Link
  • U.K. Black Friday online sales surge 135%. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Taco Bell to give away 1M Doritos Tacos with mobile orders in January. Link
  • Macy’s is 2014 Mobile Retailer of the year. Link
  • Yahoo Mail iOS app now lets you track packages, customize Today view. Link
  • Context-focused WiFi Alliance competitor to iBeacons due to arrive in devices this year. Link
  • App usage grew 76% in 2014, with shopping apps leading the way. Link
  • Target reaps rewards of mobile push as holiday traffic hits 60%. Link
  • Wearables may be headed mainstream but many still aren’t ready for primetime. Link
  • Apple’s cut from app sales reached $4.5B in 2014. Link
  • Spotify makes shift to mobile with 52% of listening now on phones and tablets. Link
  • Target hits mobile milestone. Link
  • Google’s real-time voice translation service for mobile devices is on the way. Link

Other:

  • Blackstone’s Byron Wien offers predictions for 2015. Link
  • Kevin McKenzie on reinventing the shopping mall.Link
  • Google-backed fund donates to Charlie Hebdo’s biggest issue ever. Link
  • Amazon and Netflix win big at the Golden Globes.Link
  • The five most disruptive innovations at CES 2015. Link

WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 1.5.2015

Happy New Year, everyone!

Below is a recap of news in fashion, retail, and technology over the last week. All sources can be found in the hyper-linked text after each headline:

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Retailers save discounts for bargain hunters. Link
  • Amazon draws 10 million new Prime members over holidays. Link
  • Small U.S. firms may struggle with new UPS, FedEx dimensional prices. Link
  • How Canada Goose went from small outerwear company to international luxury brand. Link
  • In-store pickup does not save U.S. shoppers much time. Link
  • Plus-size fashion moves beyond the muumuu. Link
  • FedEx acquires Bongo to appeal to global retailers. Link
  • Amazon’s third party merchants are a growing piece of the sales pie. Link
  • Amazon posts worst year since 2008, lost $7.4B. Link
  • Is Nike working to re-establish itself in the world of wearable tech? Link
  • How Nordstrom became the most successful retailer. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Snapchat cracks top 10 largest U.S. venture-capital deals. Link
  • Twitter to launch a YouTube-like video platform. Link
  • Selfie stick rules holiday season as must-have accessory. Link
  • Why brands tweet “bae.” Link
  • Top branded Instagram videos of 2014. Link
  • Net-a-porter promotes skiwear with branded ski lift. Link
  • Apple sued for false advertising of iPhones. Link
  • Lucky Magazine puts three bloggers on its cover. Link
  • Forbes taking native ads to new level with AT&T-sponsored cover. Link
  • Mark Zuckerberg starts a book club. Link
  • McDonald’s lays out new brand vision, reaffirms commitment to “I’m Lovin It.” Link
  • New AOL takes form with ad-tech in charge. Link
  • Three seismic threats to marketers in 2015. Link

Start-ups:

  • Grocery-delivery startup Instacart rings up $230M in funding. Link
  • Qwant wants to be alternative to Google. Link
  • Yummly teams up with Instacart to delivery recipe ingredients in an hour. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • Self-checkout takes hold in Japan. Link
  • Key stories to watch in China’s tech in 2015. Link
  • Tencent launches China’s first private bank. Link
  • Alibaba competitor Wanda eCommerce raises $161M at $3B valuation. Link

[AU]

  • Costco to launch more Australian stores. Link

[EU]

  • German online retailer Zalando sells old items offline. Link

[LATAM]

  • Wal-mart to offer smaller store formats in Mexico. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • App download volumes hit record high in November. Link
  • Capital One kicks off Apple Pay promotion. Link
  • Payments tipping point will be in 2015. Link
  • 5 mobile developments that mattered in 2014. Link
  • The year’s 10 biggest shifts, shake-ups and surprises in mobile marketing. Link
  • A day with Apple Pay. Link
  • Withings releases a $150 smartwatch for the masses. Link
  • Mistfit debuts a new “Sqarovski Shine” wearables collection featuring crystal jewelry, solar charging. Link

Other:

  • Nest adds 15 more companies to its “Works With Nest” program, integrating with other Internet of Things. Link
  • Roku announces two new TV partnerships for Roku TV. Link