Thursday, December 25, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Apple’s Beats buy joins tech and street-wise style

Richard Sherman

FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2013 photo, Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman wears Beats headphones before a preseason NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, in Seattle. Apple's $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics, by far the company's largest acquisition, is at least in part recognition that Beats founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine might be able to help Apple incorporate more style and flair into its premium technology gadgets —especially a coming wave of wearable devices. (AP Photo/John Froschauer, File)

By
From page B6 | May 30, 2014 |

NEW YORK — Beats Electronics’ colorful, oversized headphones serve as a fashion accessory to cool kids riding the New York City subway, but as tech companies such as Apple, Samsung and others are discovering, wearable gadgets like smartwatches and Google Glass still have a long way to go to become trendy, must-have consumer items.

Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics, by far the company’s largest acquisition, is at least in part recognition that Beats founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine might be able to help Apple incorporate more style and flair into its premium technology gadgets —especially a coming wave of wearable devices.

Technology companies see wearables as an important area of growth beyond smartphones and tablets, and many are slowly realizing that if they expect people to wear gadgets —be they bracelets to monitor fitness activity, smartwatches to substitute smartphones or Internet-connected goggles— those devices must focus as much on form as function.

So far, the most noteworthy wearables have hardly been stylish. The standard Google Glass product looks more like something out of Star Trek than a fashion accessory. Fitness bands meant to be worn 24 hours a day are difficult to match with evening gowns or even a suit and tie.

“I guess they are accessories, but I would not say they are high fashion,” says Alison Minton, a blogger who writes about accessories, jewelry and handbags on accessorygeneration.com. “There’s a ways to go before they could be considered high fashion in the way Chanel would be, or Prada.”

To change that, tech companies are beginning to attract top talent from the world of fashion. Apple’s move comes less than a year after the iPhone and iPad inventor hired Angela Ahrendts, a respected executive who helped mold Burberry into the popular luxury brand it is today. In recent weeks, Google lured fashion and marketing executive Ivy Ross, who’s worked for Calvin Klein, the Gap and Coach, to head its Google Glass unit.

“With your help, I look forward to answering the seemingly simple, but truly audacious questions Glass poses: Can technology be something that frees us up and keeps us in the moment, rather than taking us out of it? Can it help us look up and out at the world around us, and the people who share it with us?” wrote Rossin a Google Plus post.

For Ahrendts, Apple is already a luxury brand. Three years before she was hired at Apple last fall, she signaled her admiration for Apple in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

“I don’t look at Gucci or Chanel or anyone,” Ahrendts told the newspaper in 2010. “If I look to any company as a model, it’s Apple. They’re a brilliant design company working to create a lifestyle, and that’s the way I see us.”

To be sure, Apple has long been a trendsetter when it comes to producing elegant gadgets. Jony Ive, who designed the iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple’s newest mobile software system iOS7, still serves as the company’s chief style visionary. But Dr. Dre and Iovine have created wildly popular headphones that young hipsters, celebrities and professional athletes adorn themselves with —even when they’re not listening to music. Dre and Iovine’s input will be highly valued as Apple looks to introduce its next breakthrough device.

The cultural coming-together of geeks and fashionistas is happening slowly, says Michael Londrigan, dean of academic affairs at LIM College, a fashion school in New York City. Apple’s hiring of Ahrendts, he adds, “was really the start of it.”

“Overall, the goal is to marry the function with the fashion, creating a wearable technology that is sort of seamless.”

Indeed, the bulky nature of many wearable gadgets is what stops many people from considering them, says Minton. To her, fitness bands are reminiscent of “gigantic, oversized watches they had when I was a kid.” You know, the ones with the calculator built in.

“It doesn’t look like something an adult would really wear. It’s functional, but when you care about fashion it’s not always about function, it’s more about the look,” she says.

Besides the need for sleek, unobtrusive design that can be worn with a T-shirt as well as with a three-piece suit, wearable technology also faces a material challenge.

“Fitness bands are basically rubber. That’s hard to appeal to fashionistas,” Minton says. “That’s not really a sexy kind of material.”

So what’s going to nudge tech companies further into the fashion world? Minton suggests partnering with well-established fashion houses such as Stella McCartney or, yes, Burberry, on limited edition collections.

“You may not need a fitness band, but if it is in Burberry plaid, you would wear it,” she says. Especially if only 1,000 are made.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Christmas Eve event features Bible, bikes

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

It’s easy to remember some Christmas memories

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Man’s walk for peace enters Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 17 Comments | Gallery

 
$3,500 nets Dixon man $9, he says

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

Deadline nears for BookFest authors’ contest

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Suisun waterfront to host restaurant week

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Conservancy schedules next Quail Ridge hike

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield man wants $28,828 returned

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 11 Comments

Fairfield police log: Dec. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Dec. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Dec. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Governor issues 105 pardons, many for drug crimes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
10 years after tsunami, Indonesian family reborn

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Storm expected to bring Christmas snow to Sierra

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Sony broadly releases ‘The Interview’ in reversal of plans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Regulations would expand coastal California sanctuaries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Officer kills armed 18-year-old near Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 7 Comments

Interrogation program mismanaged, Senate, CIA agree

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Denver shelters cite legal pot in homeless upswing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

After NYC deaths, a surge of support for police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Abe takes office for 3rd term as Japan’s leader

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Russia: NATO pushed Kiev to drop nonaligned status

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Russia in offer to help firms with foreign debts

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: A7

 
NKorea outage a case study in online uncertainties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Curfew in India state after rebels kill 63

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Cuba’s relations with Catholic Church hit high point

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Iraq: Suicide attack kills 24 people near Baghdad

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sony tries to save face with ‘Interview’ flip-flop

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Who hacked Sony becomes Internet’s new mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
Immunity and interrogators: a second look

By Walter Pincus | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

My grandson wants what for Christmas?

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
Letting go

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 25, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
A partridge in a pear tree will cost a bit more this year

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Court denies Polanski’s motion to dismiss 1977 sex case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Sports

 
Domestic violence at forefront of NFL in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Alabama’s Sims proves critics wrong with big season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Associated Press Sports Story of the Year Winners

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Masters races to keep field under 100 players

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Typical NFL season: smiles for some, frowns for others

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA prepares for Christmas coming-out party

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B2

 
Titans lead Bucs for top pick in NFL draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tyler Summitt easing into head coaching career

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Elvis Stojko, Bourne bring skating to small stage

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B2

New-Look NBA: In Milwaukee, a new hope rises

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sharks forward John Scott suspended 4 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Honda recalls 1,252 Crosstours over side air bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Applications for US jobless aid fall to 7-week low

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Walmart tests gift card exchange

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Unions make push to recruit protected immigrants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 3 Comments

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9