With the launch of the Apple Watch this week, Apple has finally begun their overt transformation into a fashion company.
“Finally”, because for those who remember Steve Jobs’ commitment to a “marriage of technology and liberal arts”, this change was inevitable.
But it’s not just Apple: Motorola’s watches are incredibly stylish as well, and Samsung is finally starting to use metal as a material not because its easier to produce than plastic (it isn’t), but because critics and buyers alike found the old style tacky, time and time again.
Not many people can tell you how many milliamp-hours their phone’s battery has, but we do spend a lot of time in the store debating whether “rose gold” or “space grey” would be is a more accurate reflection of who we are as a person.
With new reports once again telling us how teenagers are now spending more on technology than fashion, one thing is clear.
We aren’t spending more on technology than fashion. Technology is fashion.
Consider Apple’s recent $3+ billion purchase of Beats Audio. Does Beats make the best pair of headphones on the market? No.
Are they the best in their price range? Absolutely not.
Do people wear them around their necks even if they’re not in use? Ding ding ding.
This week I bought a Jawbone Up, one of countless fitness trackers on the market only partially for it’s functionality. What I really liked is how it looks, and I don’t mind wearing it around all day. No one at work has noticed it, and if so they have no idea that what looks like a casual accessory is actually tracking my steps, monitoring my sleep, and buzzing me if I stay sedentary for too long.
The cultural shift that began 13 years ago with the iconic white iPod earbuds has taken hold in a way that requires us to change how we think as content creators and communicators, putting our work into a context not just within the technologies we use, but in the lives of our audiences.
Just like the technologies that carry our messages, we are no longer relegated to prime-time hours, location-specific viewing, or any real limits whatsoever.
And just like these technologies, our content must be integrated into the lives and habits of our intended audiences, adding value and respecting contexts.
Most people don’t want to watch a feature film on the bus, but on the flip side there is little more depressing than watching 45 minutes of Vines at home.
Fashion is technology. Technology is fashion. Communication is ingrained into our culture like never before.
Can we as communicators live up to the challenge?