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Comment counts: key considerations for starting a wearables company

Wearable technology is an exciting new sector for fashion and technology entrepreneurs, but there are multiple challenges and obstacles to confront and overcome in order to successfully take a product to market, writes Timothy Coghlan, a China fashion, retail and technology industry specialist.

fitbit

It has been more than three decades since Adidas launched its Micropacer sneaker to tie-in to the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. Now a collectable for sneakerheads, the Micropacer was one of the very first computer-embedded fashion devices developed to calculate distance, running pace and the calories burned by the wearer. Fast-forward to today, and hundreds of “wearable technology” products are available for sale in a market estimated to be worth $16.1bn in 2015, according to Visiongain, and predicted to hit $53bn by 2019, according to Juniper Research.

Other compelling evidence that the wearables sector is coming of age is the multi-billion dollar exits (cash outs) achieved by notable wearables companies over the past 18 months, including the $3bn acquisition of Beats by Apple in 2014, and Fitbit’s $4.1bn IPO in June 2015.

The wearables sector is luring entrepreneurs from both sides of the fashion and technology divide, yet the tech industry mantra that developing “hardware is hard” (as opposed to software) reigns true. Budding wearables entrepreneurs will encounter multiple setbacks in taking their ideas from concept to sellable product. Here are some of the key issues to consider in order to effectively developing and bring to market new products and brands…

Developing functional products

The recent wave of wearables began to swell in 2013 with devices including the Nike Fuelband, Samsung Gear, and Google Glass all hitting the market. These early devices gained traction with health enthusiasts and the technology early-adopter pack who used them to measure, track and record daily activities such as jogging distances and sleep data.

However, for most people who were not hardcore athletes or quantified-self fanatics, the value proposition of these early “wearable 1.0” devices was negligible – especially given the fact mobile phones could perform a lot of the same measurements. Moreover, many of the devices were plagued by functionality problems such as short battery life plus interface and syncing issues that caused users to discard them after only a few weeks.

apple-watch

Product iterations and developments over the past two years have seen many of these user (tech hardware) issues improve, as was apparent with the launch of the Apple Watch in April 2015. Yet, even with most of the hardware issues now solved, the question still remains of what actionable data and information these wearable devices provide that enhances the wearer’s life, rather than simply reporting on it.

Benjamin Joffe, general partner of the HAX (hardware) Accelerator program based in Shenzhen, China, says that despite the recent progress we are not yet in the “2.0” era of wearables: “It’s great for a device to track your lifestyle habits and give data, but that data has to have a call-to-action or tell you what to do, like a watch that announces ‘You’ve sat down too long or you’re stressed, maybe you should you stand up or take a break for a while’. The next ‘2.0’ generation of wearables will have specialised analytical capabilities that will have wider implications for both employers and end users, but developing these will require ‘real science’ with new [embedded] sensors and the trouble with this is that there are very high barriers to entry.”

Sunny Vu, CEO of Misfit Wearables says wearables should be measured against the “turnaround test”, in terms of proving the usefulness of a device to a user. That is, if you had left home and were already halfway to your destination and you realised you had forgotten your phone, keys, or wallet, would you turn around and go home to get them? Probably. But would you turn around to go home and get your wearable device? Probably not.

For Vu, it was vital to make something compelling. Simply creating an activity tracker wasn’t sufficient because it wouldn’t pass this test. “Going into the future, ‘wearables 2.0’ can’t be single purpose devices. The [Misfit] Flash device is built to be a button that doubles as a remote control for your phone to take selfies and perform other tasks. What’s interesting is that [in the future] perhaps devices will enable you to control things in your life, like calling Uber.”

The immediate challenge for aspiring wearables entrepreneurs is to go beyond the current product offerings and create something functional and with a compelling user proposition for consumers.

Funding your start-up

For wearable start-up founders, there also comes the question of funding, as hardware is far more costly to develop and bring to market than software.

Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become the de facto global portals for entrepreneurs to test their ideas and raise funds from individual backers who pledge money to be part of the project. The most successful wearables Kickstarter campaign to date has been the Pebble Watch, which made headlines by first raising over $10m and then raising another $20m on the site in early 2015. Pebble founder and CEO Eric Migicovsky says quite simply: “The key to successfully raising large amounts of crowdfunding is to first make a good product and then figure out how to explain it to the world before even putting it on Kickstarter.”

Pebble

Vu of Misfit Wearables also turned to crowdfunding after he had already raised an $8m Series A round of venture capital funding from Founders Fund and had developed and tested early versions of their products. In an Indiegogo campaign in 2013, the company raised over $800,000 from almost 8,000 people.The Misfit Shine activity tracker launch followed, and then another Series B round of venture capital funding of over $15m from Horizon Ventures.

The amount of Misfit’s crowdfunding was small compared to other venture capital funding rounds, though a vital aspect of crowdfunding is the feedback loop gained by interacting directly with potential customers to see if people want your product before you invest other resources into actually building it. As Vu said: “Failing to raise crowdfunding is a strong indication that your product isn’t the right [market] fit and maybe you shouldn’t make it.” In mid November 2015, Misfit was acquired by Fossil Group for $260m.

With Beats’ $3bn acquisition by Apple and the $4.1bn IPO debut by Fitbit, there is growing evidence that wearable companies have the potential to make large returns for their investors. As Rui Ma, Beijing-based China Partner for 500 Startups, a Silicon Valley venture capital seed fund and start-up accelerator, explains: “Due to the nature of hardware start-ups they need big investments and for 500 Startups, when considering start-ups to invest in, we look at companies that sell globally [regardless of where they’re based].” Omate Watches is one wearables start-up that 500 Startups has invested in.

For entrepreneurs, it is important to weigh up the different funding options. Not all funding is equal. Venture capital comes at the cost of giving away a percentage of your company whereas crowdfunding doesn’t. As related by Sunny Vu: “Venture capital funding makes most sense when interests align and there’s a tie-in to growing the business so the investors can become strategic partners for the company.”

For Misfit Wearables’ most recent $40m Series C venture funding round in 2014 from China-based GGV Capital, Xiaomi and JD.com, each investor offered great advantages for Misfit to grow its retail base rapidly in China, where there is a massive market potential. In October 2015, just two weeks prior to announcing it was being acquired by Fossil, Misfit chose Beijing as the location for the global launch of its Shine2 product.

You might also like: Top tips for retail start-ups from VCs at SXSW

Manufacturing wearable devices

With both a compelling product offer and funding secured, wearables entrepreneurs can then proceed to the manufacturing phase of product development.  

Whereas fashion designers can sketch their designs and have them made into samples with relative ease around the world, developing wearable device prototypes embedded with technology is much more complicated. It thus follows that many wearables entrepreneurs underestimate the arduous and multi-phase nature of the manufacturing process that could take (far) longer than expected to get a product ready for shipping. This is why many successful crowdfunding projects do not stick to their original promised delivery dates.

beats

China is the leading country for large-scale production of wearable technology devices. In researching the manufacturing process for hardware devices in Shenzhen China, Ma from 500 Startups told TechCrunch that the process may take up to 14 months for the delivery of a new product. The difficulties of manufacturing is something Vu from Misfit echoes: “You can’t just send CAD files to the manufacturer and expect them to understand your specifications and everything go smoothly… and you have to design a product to be made at 1,000 units per hour.”

To help navigate the convoluted manufacturing process, one option for fledgling wearables start-ups is to join a program such as the aforementioned HAX Accelerator. HAX offers multiple benefits to start-ups including investment, office space, sourcing, prototyping and guidance on finding retail distribution as fast as possible. Companies participating in HAX spend 3.5 months in Shenzhen working on strategy and sourcing. Upon graduation, the program helps them pitch their products to potential investors and also launch their products to the media.

Joffe says: “For program participants, one week in Shenzhen is equivalent to one month in Silicon Valley where there is no large-scale manufacturing ecosystem for prototyping products.” From Joffe’s experience: “Chinese manufacturers are pretty flexible with unit numbers and a lot of problems can be worked out on the factory floor. Plus, eventually to achieve scale in the hardware business you will need to manufacture in China.”

Succeeding at retail

With manufacturing complete the final element to achieving commercial success for a new wearable device is executing effective retail distribution. This is another area where wearables start-ups often stumble, especially for entrepreneurs astute at engineering but not experienced at elements critical in retail, including PR, marketing, branding and customer service.

Few, if any wearables companies these days have the scale and resources to open their own physical retail stores, and so they rely on being sold through other doors whether that be department or electronics stores, fashion boutiques or various online platforms. Even for those who crowdfund to get fans and followers, and test their products, the majority still aren’t discovered by consumers until they’re in the retail environment. For real long-term, large-scale success, wearables start-ups have to build a brand in the same way that Beats, Fitbit and Misfit have done.

MisfitFlash

For wearables start-ups that do make it this far and find retail distribution they still won’t be able to rest there. As Joffe from HAX shares: “Many wearables start-ups think they can just put their product on the shelf, but it won’t sell by itself and in most retail formats the sales staff don’t have enough expertise to explain and sell it on your behalf anyway. So the company continually needs to build awareness and create demand on its own.”

Ma from 500 Startups echoes this sentiment: “Retail is a big challenge for hardware start-ups and it’s a totally different game [from software] because it takes much longer to sell physical products and achieve high sales volume versus just selling APPs and software online. This is also something VCs consider when investing in hardware start-ups because we look for companies and products that display rapid exponential growth opportunities.”

Taking Misfit Wearables’ operations as an example, Vu says: “For wearables start-ups, life doesn’t even start until you attempt to sell the completed product. Customers won’t care which famous VC firm funded you or where you went to school, they just care about amazing product experience at an amazing price – so you need to give that to them.” Misfit has complex operations encompassing a wide variety of core products plus accessories available in multiple colours and with retail distribution in over 30 countries and speaking around 20 languages, he explains. “Succeeding with wearables is just as much about being crazy good at business as it is with having the right product,” he adds.

Overall, the wearables market is an exciting new sector for fashion and technology entrepreneurs to develop product ideas, yet as laid out here, in each phase of development and in bringing the items to market, there are multiple challenges and obstacles to confront and overcome. Being aware of these issues and making the right decisions at each phase will give wearables entrepreneurs the best chance of success.

Timothy Coghlan is a China fashion, retail and technology industry specialist based in Beijing.

Comment Counts is a series of opinion pieces from experts within the industry. Do you have something to say? Get in touch via info@fashionandmash.com.

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2015: a designer meets digital year in review

AppleWatch_Hermes

It’s been another big year for the fashion industry and its integration with technology: from the release of the (Hermès) Apple Watch, to Natalie Massenet’s departure from Net-a-Porter as it merged with Yoox, not to mention the ongoing and evolving discussions around fashion weeks becoming consumer-facing events.

There’s also been a broadening discussion on the role smart fabrics play in the wearables space, virtual reality is increasingly on our radar for its relevance to retail, and we’re obsessed with how the industry is slowly adapting to a new aesthetic thanks to apps like Snapchat.

Here then, are 10 of the posts you loved the most on Fashion & Mash this year. It’s a collection nodding to many of the aforementioned subjects we continue to track, as well as the likes of personalisation, data, instant messaging, emojis and more. A veritable feast of trends we’re watching across the digital landscape as we head into the New Year…

Thank you for reading and see you in 2016. Wishing you a very happy holidays from everyone here at the (growing!) Fashion & Mash team.

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Digital snippets: NYFW’s consumer shift, has Burberry become a gimmick, Thakoon’s real-time fashion plans

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

thakoon

  • NYFW going consumer? CFDA hires BCG to study the idea [WWD]
  • Is Burberry becoming too gimmicky? [Yahoo Style]
  • Thakoon to shift to “real-time fashion”, launch see-now, buy-now, wear-now model (as pictured) [BoF]
  • How Rebecca Minkoff is disrupting the traditional runway show [Co.Design]
  • Proenza Schouler to keep its Pre-Fall 2016 collection images under wraps and off Instagram [WGSN Insider]
  • JC Penney shoppers visit Santa’s workshop in new virtual reality initiative [AdAge]
  • The North Face launched an online customer service tool powered by conversation [Digiday]
  • Aldo takes non-fashion approach in new Instagram push [Digiday]
  • How Boohoo.com releases up to 300 new products a day [Fashionista]
  • Michael Kors bet big on Instagram marquee ads, and it’s paying off [AdWeek]
  • Swatch to start selling mobile payment watch in US in 2016 [Bloomberg]
  • How Apple executive Angela Ahrendts is bringing a touch of chic to retail stores [NY Times]
  • Why Gilt Groupe is forced to sell, either to Saks’ parent company or someone else [Re/code]
  • 3D fashion police: how 3D-printed clothing could affect fashion law [3ders]
  • Is virtual reality the future of fashion week? [Vogue]
  • ‘Unboxing’ videos a gift to marketers [NY Times]
  • How luxury brands are balancing the digital tightrope between aspirational image and conversation [The Drum]
  • Social media: powerful selling tool for emerging designers [WWD]
  • The future of wearables is normal clothes made smart [Racked]
  • Last fashion week, Dazed armed anonymous industry insiders with wearable tech bracelets [Dazed]
  • Team behind Lady Gaga’s flying dress to bring wearable tech to a store near you [Mashable]
  • How Clothing+ is bringing smart clothes closer to your kit bag [CNET]
  • Half a year later, the Apple Watch feels like a stalled platform [Quartz]
  • Will phones replace wallets by 2021? [Vogue]
  • What’s going on at Condé Nast? [BoF]
  • Why brands are ditching Twitter’s 6-second Vine app [AdWeek]
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Digital snippets: Asos launches podcast, Burberry’s success on Periscope, Jet hits $1m in first-day sales

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

asos

  • Asos launches weekly podcast in customer engagement push [Retail Week]
  • Burberry’s Snapchat and Periscope campaigns deliver a record 100m impressions [The Drum]
  • Jet, the new Amazon competitor, hits $1 million in sales on launch day [re/code]
  • Forever 21 launches Instagram-powered thread screen [DigitalBuzzBlog]
  • Nordstrom is making it simple to buy via text message [NRF]
  • Birchbox’s monthly deliveries will give virtual reality a fascinating test run [AdWeek]
  • Katy Perry, Coty launch perfume line with Twitter pop-up shop [AdAge]
  • Victoria’s Secret chatting app ensures instantaneous customer satisfaction [PSFK]
  • LVMH to launch Apple Watch rival [Reuters]
  • Amazon will be the number one US clothing retailer very soon [Bloomberg]
  • Old Navy follows viral hit with another back-to-school music video [AdAge]
  • Rakuten buys virtual fitting room start-up Fits.Me in a fashion commerce play [TechCrunch]
  • E-commerce start-up Tinker Tailor shuts down operations [Fashion Times]
  • Personal shopping app Scratch launches with $3.6 million in funding [Fashionista]
  • Battle of the buy buttons: What does the social commerce hybrid mean for retail brands? [The Drum]
  • The surprising way smartphones are changing the way we shop [The Washington Post]
  • Malte Huffmann of Dafiti on cracking fashion e-commerce in Latin America [BoF]
  • Fashion’s biological future is now [Huffington Post]
  • Programmable clothes are going commercial [Co.design]
  • Apple Watch sales: what we know (and don’t know) [WSJ]
  • Pebble boss: ‘one day, people will not be able to live without their smartwatch’ [The Guardian]
  • Does Ringly have a place in an Apple Watch world? [TechCrunch]
  • Vogue launches Alexa Chung fashion documentary series, crowdsources questions [Vogue]
  • 10 retailer blogs that are genuinely worth reading [Econsultancy]
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Digital snippets: shoplifters at Harvey Nichols, Iris van Herpen on fashion and science, Rakuten’s virtual fit start-up

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

harveynichols

  • Harvey Nichols features genuine CCTV shoplifting footage in new Rewards ad (as pictured) [Creative Review]
  • Iris van Herpen’s science fashion [BoF]
  • Rakuten buys virtual fitting room start-up Fits.Me in a fashion commerce play [TechCrunch]
  • Why an “Amazon for high fashion” is a really bad idea [HighSnobiety]
  • Amazon Fashion, playing the long game [BoF]
  • ShopStyle figured out how to monetise Snapchat [Racked]
  • Why it took Zappos Labs five tries to admit failure [Fast Company]
  • Stamp your in-store Snapchats with custom Lilly Pulitzer prints [Digiday]
  • Crocs bets big on interactive Twitter videos with ‘Funway Runway’ effort [AdWeek]
  • Online jewellery start-up Bauble Bar to open retail stores [Forbes]
  • Matthew Williamson to sell part of pre-fall collection exclusively on Lyst [Fashionista]
  • Net-a-porter partners with Tom Ford on e-commerce exclusive [WWD]
  • Nike quickens plans to ‘seamlessly connect social platforms to commerce’ [The Drum]
  • How artificial intelligence is powering e-commerce in India [TechinAsia]
  • Fashion apps continue the trend for mobile swiping [The Telegraph]
  • Six futuristic retail displays that will change your idea of ‘e-commerce’ [Time]
  • Luxury brands dip toes in e-commerce waters [WSJ]
  • Why the Internet of Things won’t be about the ‘things’ for retailers [Retail Dive]
  • The man who wants to turn our clothes into modular gadgets [Wired]
  • Meet Mona, the world’s smartest personal shopper [PSFK]
  • Why the Apple Watch is flopping [Co.Design]
  • 3D-printing has stagnated, says pioneering designer Francis Bitonti [Dezeen]
  • We did not expect Vogue’s native advertising to be this good [Brand Republic]
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Digital snippets: Breaking up with the Apple Watch, NY or London as fashion-tech capital, Ted Baker opens virtual store

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

Applewatch

  • Vanessa Friedman: Why I’m breaking up with the Apple Watch [NY Times]
  • New York vs London: which is the world’s fashion-tech capital? [BoF]
  • Ted Baker experiments with virtual reality as digital concept store opens in Shoreditch [The Drum]
  • Net-A-Porter moves into profit after a year of digital innovation [Internet Retailing]
  • Bonobos profiting from surge in online menswear sales [The Street]
  • Avon Ladies learn to tweet, embrace e-commerce [Digiday]
  • Knyttan, a customisable knitwear start-up, gets investors’ seal of approval [Fashionista]
  • Why Amazon’s drone delivery is growing trickier [CNBC]
  • 3-D printing will fix the way we order shoe sizes [PSFK]
  • This high-tech hijab will literally make Muslim women cooler [BuzzFeed]
  • Why ‘buy’ buttons will pose big Challenges for Google, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter [re/code]
  • Real-time strategies essential element of retail rehaul: report [Luxury Daily]
  • ShopStyle banks on bloggers, relaunches influencer network [WWD]
  • How a mole in the tech sector is helping shape the look of ‘Silicon Valley’s’ women [LA Times]
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Are we really going to shop from the Apple Watch? What retail apps are trying to achieve

applewatch

When Apple makes a major announcement like a move into the wearables category, it’s guaranteed a long line of other businesses will jump on board any which way they can; aiming for success by association with relevant launches of their own.

Needless to say there were multiple new apps created in time for the Apple Watch hitting stores in April on that very basis. 3,500 to be precise. Retail is one of the key categories within that, with Target, Asos, Amazon, JC Penney and Marks & Spencer just some examples of those who introduced new applications specifically.

Many of these brands aren’t normally what we’d consider early movers in such a tech game. So what are they trying to achieve? Are such efforts merely about benefitting from the media coverage likely to follow, or do they actually think there’s potential to be shopping from our wrists?

Head over to Forbes.com for my full story exploring the answers to those questions.

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Digital snippets: Style.com, Etsy, The Iconic, Dezeen, DVF, Uber, Alexander McQueen

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

dezeen-watch-store

  • What the end of Style.com means for the rest of fashion publishing [Fashionista]
  • Post IPO, Etsy CTO on its conservatively crafty tech philosophy [TechCrunch]
  • Online retailer The Iconic considers drone deliveries [AFR]
  • Old-school timepieces take a stand against the Apple Watch in humorous Dezeen campaign (as pictured) [PSFK]
  • Diane von Furstenberg and that Bruce Jenner Instagram gaffe [WWD]
  • Uber is quietly testing a massive merchant delivery program [TechCrunch]
  • Alexander McQueen explores fashion’s relationship to dance in new video campaign [Luxury Daily]
  • Reebok launches ‘Hunt the Pump’ Instagram treasure hunt [Marketing Magazine]
  • Japanese salarymen unleash their inner surfers with Quiksilver’s amazing wetsuit [Creativity]
  • Google didn’t kill Glass, it’s just making it sexier [Fast Company]
  • Nike and Under Armour look increasingly like tech companies; spending wildly to watch your every step [The Washington Post]
  • Why are major tech brands so obsessed with fashion? [i-D]
  • As technology and fashion converge, get ready for 3D-printed shoes, special parkas for smoggy days, and maybe even jeans that fit [The Atlantic]
  • Something old (bridal wear) meets the new (3D printing) [NY Times]
  • 3D-printed swimsuit’s design mimics water movement [PSFK]
  • Will drones take fashion into the future? [i-D]
  • Online fashion marketplace Poshmark raises $25 million funding round [BoF]
  • What does the ideal click and collect service look like? [Econsultancy]
  • In customer service, online-only retailers are beating out brick-and-mortar [Fashionista]
  • Refinery29 fetches $50 million investment from WPP and Scripps [AdAge]
  • WeChat publishing is changing China’s mediascape [BoF]
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digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: Zoolander, Apple Watch, Farfetch, GoPro, Old Navy, Bloomingdale’s

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

zoolander_valentino

  • Zoolander stars crash Valentino runway during Paris Fashion Week to announce sequel, web goes wild [AdWeek]
  • Four reasons to care about the #AppleWatch [F&M]
  • Fashion ‘unicorn’ Farfetch raises $86 million at $1 billion valuation [BoF]
  • GoPro and Michael Kors top NYFW brand posts on Instagram [L2 The Daily]
  • Old Navy tries Tumblr for Gen Y’s spring push [MediaPost]
  • Bloomingdale’s highlights designer exclusives with branded “dance craze” [Luxury Daily]
  • Sephora launches contouring app [WWD]
  • Meet the angel investors sprinkling financial fairy dust on new design talent [FT]
  • PCH founder: how I’ll turn Fab.com into the Netflix of design [PSFK]
  • Dash Hudson raises $1 million to beat the Instagram shopping conundrum [Fashionista]
  • Etsy gets a patent covering streaming interactive online shopping [Internet Retailer]
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Comment Editor's pick technology

Four reasons to care about the #AppleWatch

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

The web was abuzz with coverage of CEO Tim Cook’s keynote revealing further information about the Apple Watch from San Francisco today.

We now know it will be available for pre-order and try-on in store from April 10, and for purchase from April 24. We also know its battery is supposed to last 18 hours with normal usage, and that its 18-karat gold version is going to cost $10,000.

Whether you’re counting down the days to get hold of your one or not, here are four reasons you should care about it…

Applewatch3

1. Your parents now know the term “wearable technology”

Let’s face it, when your Mum calls you (by yours, I mean mine) to tell you this thing called “wearables” is all over the news and asks if you’re going to buy THE watch, mass awareness has hit. Apple has an incredible ability to do this; drive a trend beyond the early adopter set to infiltrate a much broader market (think iPod, iPhone, iPad). Analysts expect in the region of 20-22 million Apple Watches to sell within a year, which comes as no surprise with an entry price point of $349.

But the arrival of the Apple Watch will buoy the whole wearables category full stop; carrying other brands along with it, but more importantly enabling new ideas to come to light too. Expect a whole wave of new devices and concepts to follow suit. Most will crash and burn, but the odd one will help build out this industry even more.

Applewatch2

2. This is Apple entering the luxury market

Whatever Jony Ive touches does indeed seem to turn into gold. In this case, quite literally. The third variation of the Apple Watch, called the Edition, comes in 18-karat solid gold. Better than that, it’s also available in limited quantity and for a huge $10,000. That, in case you didn’t realise, is Apple very openly entering the luxury, not to mention fashion, market. (To really emphasise that fact it also placed a 12-page ad spread in US Vogue this month). As Cook said in today’s keynote: “This is the most personal device we’ve ever made. It’s not just with you, it’s on you, and what you wear is an expression of who you are.”

How Apple markets it accordingly, when the other versions of the same device from a functionality perspective start at $349 for the aluminium Apple Watch Sport, and $549 for the stainless steel Apple Watch Collection, will be very interesting to see. One thing you can be sure of, the likes of Tag Heuer (which said it is considering a move into smart products via a partnership or collaboration with a university or specialist firm) and other traditional watchmakers will most definitely be taking note.

Applewatch1

3. Expect a reworking of technology retail formats

With this move into not only the “wearables” space but the luxury one, does of course come the opportunity for Angela Ahrendts’ retail team to shine. Little detail was shared during today’s keynote of what exactly to expect in store, but previous news has indicated the Apple Watch will take its cue from the jewellery space in terms of how it is showcased. Expect things like specially-designed, glass-cased table displays, specific lighting, full-length mirrors and even private areas for a more intimate experience. According to 9to5mac, shoppers will also be able to try on different models and wear them around the stores to get a good idea of how they feel and look.

There’s a lot of debate around wearables as a whole and where they belong in retail, especially once it gets to a third party store – do they sit in the technology or the accessories department for instance, and who is responsible for training the sales staff on these new ways of talking to consumers? With Apple trialling pop-ups in Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Selfridges in London, expect it to start shaping some of the answers.

Applewatch4

4. The focus on haptic feedback will win with millennials

From a functionality perspective, there are all sorts of things to be excited about, including the integration of “thousands of new apps”, according to Cook, and the comprehensive health and fitness system at its core. But it’s the “digital touch” element that really strikes a chord. Cook refers to the “taptic” engine of the Apple Watch, which is haptic feedback technology, as “a whole new way to communicate”, which knowing Apple, probably isn’t far wrong. Most of us are well used to vibrating phones patterns alerting us to different notifications, but not actually on our wrists. Whether it’s a quick tap to let you know your Apple Pay has worked, or a short series recreating a loved one’s heartbeat, the Apple Watch will enable true brief interactions with technology.

There’s a really fun element at the heart of this device too, whether it’s the sketches shared and animated in real-time from one watch to the next, or the emojis being pinged over between different apps. Expect these features to really sing to younger generations, and the likes of Snapchat, Wechat and Whatsapp to find integrated success as a result.