So Tim Cook hired Yves Saint Laurent CEO as Apple's VP of special projects.
So nothing changes: Paul Deneve already knows the company, he used to work there. And it's not about future lines of products (we didn't need Snowden to learn about iWatch, the smartwatch market is already crowded*, and smartwear has been in the air for a decade and a half), but about the future of a brand in mature markets where smartphones, tablets, smartTVs, smartwatches, smartaccessories and smartwear have technologically become commodities.
|Long time no see! Reminds me of the Pinault-Arnault web / telecom / luxury wars of the nineties!|
Apple is used to conceiving articles that sell with a premium, but design itself won't make much difference for the basics. Anyway, Apple is now lagging in design (iPhone 5 < Galaxy 3), and brand loyalty has been decreasing ever since the company stopped delivering genuine innovation, focusing instead on legal battles, shareholder dividends, and shameless customer retention techniques leveraging purely on proprietary hardwares or softwares**.
Apple needs to revamp itself, to reinvent itself as a leader, and to stretch the brand umbrella beyond its now usual markets in terms of products and services, consumers, distribution channels... without destroying the most valuable parts of its DNA.
Apple won't shrink down to Nokia's Vertu, or even to the equivalent of 'masstige' fashion brands. But it will have to sustainably justify higher price tags.
Of course, differenciation in mature markets remains a much tougher challenge for Samsung.
BTW the company disbanded its strategic foresight unit yesterday: they didn't come up with successful suggestions for new businesses.
At least the family is already familiar with many markets, ranging from top luxury to fast-fashion...
* e.g. "I see through you: City of Sin, Screens, and Smartpagers"
** e.g. "Anovations for Applelatres: Apple has lost its compass", "Omnipatent v. Impatent", "Apple - the end of the affair"...