updated 09:50 am EDT, Thu September 4, 2014
Designer claims device means Swiss watch industry is in trouble
(Corrected for proper focus) Apple designer Jonathan Ive is -- privately -- talking up the iWatch, according to a new report. "According to a designer who works at Apple, Jonathan Ive, Apple's design chief, is bragging about how cool he thought the iWatch was shaping up to be, gleefully said Switzerland is in trouble -- though he chose a much bolder term for 'trouble' to express how he thought the watchmaking nation might be in a tough predicament when Apple's watch comes out," writes the New York Times. Apple has yet to formally reveal the iWatch, and typically refuses to confirm or deny unannounced products beyond saying that a particular category might be of interest.
The report is difficult to take on its face, despite sourcing from the NYT, as members of Ive's design team who would have access to have heard such a remark would not disclose it to the press, both for fear of being fired and because Apple zealously discourages any talk of unannounced products. Ive is known for joking around, however, leaving the possibility that the remark is genuine but taken out of context.
It's believed that Apple may introduce the iWatch at its September 9 press event. If so, though, the company may only be prepared to tease the device. No parts leaks have emerged so far, and indeed recent rumors have suggested that the watch is only in engineering verification testing, which could mean it's still several months from shipping.
The Times article claims that one of the main obstacles to smartwatch adoption has been fashion design, which it says Apple is in a position to change. Indeed, Apple has been hiring a number of people from the fashion industry during the past year, including its new retail head, former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts.