Apple has made some interesting personnel moves lately, starting with Angela Ahrendts, previously CEO of Burberry. To leave the top job at a prestigious fashion firm for a non-CEO job might be puzzling, but it demonstrates Apple’s own prestige. At Apple, Ahrendts has a chance to make an impact on the consumer electronics scene at one of the most well respected firms. And given the trend toward wearables, it could be nice to combine her fashion expertise with Apple’s technology savvy.
Then came the Beats purchase, which in addition to Beats Music, an increasingly important element to Apple’s streaming strategy, brought Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Iovine is believed to be the key to helping Apple negotiate with media suppliers to enhance Apple TV. Dr. Dre might just be the coolest guy at Apple, especially with Steve Jobs gone, and while Apple knows you can’t buy cool, you can certainly create an environment and aura that attracts cool employees and cool customers. Headphones were the first “wearable” and are an expensive fashion statement at $200 to $400. I was at the press conference with Monster back at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas when Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine announced Beats, and there was speculation that people wouldn’t pay that much for headphones. But Dr. Dre helped make that happen
Now comes word that Apple has lured away Patrick Pruniaux, VP Global Sales & Retail for the maker of Swiss watches under the brands Tag Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith. Those brands are owned by fashion icon LVMH, holding company of Louis Vuitton, Dior, and others. Apparently Apple has been trying to land executives from Swiss watch companies for some time. Clearly wearables, and in particular smartwatches, are in the future for Apple and diehard Apple customers. But maybe such a device will attract fashionistas too who are new to Apple? Now that would be cool!