Jony Ive on Apple Watch: It’s not our intent to compete with luxury goods

“There has to be irony in the fact that Apple designers Jony Ive and Marc Newson — the minds behind the only credible threat to the watch-making world — are both avid mechanical watch collectors,” Micah Singleton reports for The Verge. “At the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference earlier this week, Ive and Newson shared some of their thoughts on designing the Apple Watch and declared it shouldn’t be compared to mechanical watches given the vast differences between the two products.”

“Apple’s design chief said the company isn’t intentionally competing with luxury goods and has been on the same path since its inception, to make technology more approachable,” Singleton reports. “‘What I know is that was not our intent at all. Our intent has remained the same and is consistent, which has been to try and take what is remarkable technology, in terms of its capability and its utility, and make it more and more personal,’ [Ive said]. ‘That’s what we’re trying to do.'”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, as we explained last month:

The $17,000 Apple Watch Edition vastly separates Apple Watch from the stupidwatches. Editions are mobile billboards and perpetual interest-generators for Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport that also elevate the perception of quality for both of those models.

Related articles:
Neil Cavuto blasts ‘those dregs at Apple’ over Apple Watch availability – April 24, 2015
Apple Watch is not aiming at the one-percenters – March 16, 2015
Why is Apple making a gold Watch? – March 12, 2015
Kevin Rose: Apple Watch Edition is perfect for douchebags – March 12, 2015


  1. > to make technology more approachable… and make it more and more personal.

    Yes, that is Apple’s “intent” for everything it does, going back to the Apple II. In ten years, Apple might be making the same statement about cars.

    1. Sounds like Ive may have a difference of perspective and direction than Cook. He says that as far as he knew… the direction has been to make technology personal and their intention was not to compete with luxury watches.

      It’s all a bit muddled though. Whether Ive likes it or not, they’re competing with luxury watches. They’re selling a $17,000 watch. It’s insane.

      To me this smacks of confusion and lack of clarity at the top, or some really bad PR. Ive doesn’t even seem to know or at least acknowledge the market implications of selling that gold junker.

      1. It’s obviously not “insane.” Apple sold all the Edition watches they produced, plus a waiting list that currently says “available to ship June.” ONE $17,000 Edition watch equals about 50 Sport Watches for revenue, and much more in terms of profit margin. And most people who can afford $17,000 for an Apple Watch are buying that Apple Watch to add to their collection of “other” watches and ultra-luxury belongings.

        “PR” regularly sends different message to different audiences. “Market implications” are that Apple already sold millions of Apple Watches. And Apple will sell tens of millions by the end of 2015. Existence of a $17,000 Apple Watch is not causing any harm; in fact, it helps to “elevate” the $349 Sport model. Instead of “regular” customers thinking “$349 for a smart watch is too much,” it’s “that $349 Sport version is a bargain.” That’s the only “perspective” that really matters. The customer’s perspective.

        1. Ken:

          U have no idea what “most” people are doing. Your post is full of hor air and supoorted by zero evidence. When it comes to the gold watch shipping in June, Apple probably blew that model launch too. That and likely that it’s all marketing to give the impression of sales and try and make people want it.

      2. The wisdom in Apple selling a $17,000 watch is for the reality that there are customers that don’t want aluminum on their wrist.

        This is not a problem with laptops and iPads, though who is to say in the future a $50,000 iPad mini EDITION wouldnt be released.

        Apple has the greatest software, why should it let android take all the luxury customers? And why shouldn’t luxury customers have the greatest watch, which I teracta wity the greatest phones, laptops, desktops, car systems, and tv boxes?

        1. I don’t think this $17,000 watch thing has much to do with elevating the appeal of the watch.

          It’s very easily understood by realizing that this is the very first item that is considered jewelry/adornment/etc. You can’t expect the greatest company worldwide, making *the most* luxurious electronics products to not make SURE they appeal to the BMWs as well as the Fords. You can’t ask a BMW to wear jewelry that is a step down in their fashion..

          It’s 100% about the customer here, and a natural consequence will be a raising of the appeal of the watch.

          1. Apple selling a gold watch with a limited lifetime and with the same functionality as an aluminum one for several hundred times the price is about as sensible as Coca Cola selling its products in diamond-studded bottles to that the rich doesn’t have to lower themselves to actually touching mere glass.

            Such an obvious fashion play in electronics makes no sense either. I sincerely hope that rich people are smarter than this.

            1. They aren’t.

              What Apple has done is co-opted the market of those that modify Apple products, like gold plating them, etc, and then selling what is basically a $500 watch for $20,000. Now the kind of customers that would go for such products, can get them directly from Apple, with warranty and support and value intact.

        2. Reminds me of how Apple got into music players and the digital hub way back when. Bill Gates each year would take time off to meditate on whee things were going. Then he’d give a talk and give directions to MSFT accordingly. One year he remarked on how the PC would be the media center or digital hub. Jobs and others heard this and figured 1) MSFT would screw it up (true, I believe) and 2) Apple should be the one doing it.

          I think that dynamic is playing out with the phones, tablets and now watches. We can only hope they keep going with TVs, cars, home systems, medicine….

          Some see arrogance in this. I think it puts huge pressure on the other players to up their game. Good stuff competition.

      3. If you look at the traditional luxury watches you can find that the “gold” models can break the $100,000 mark. Just like the luxury sports cars being insanely expensive against a Honda those watches use craftsmen, not machines and there is no rushed assembly line.

        It’s two different worlds and the Gold  Watch is an “interesting and inexpensive” watch for the super rich.

  2. It was not our intent to compete with…
    – Typewriters
    – Mainframe computers
    – CDs
    – Record stores
    – Landlines
    – PCs
    – Books
    – Mechanical wristwatches

    …and yet here we are : )

      1. Poser – Have you looked at the price of a Rolex or other high end watches? Apple is not in the same luxury category as the “big boys”, not until you add another zero.

      2. I doubt it. He’s a huge collector of of expensive watches. He knows Apple Watch and high end mechanical watches don’t compete. It’s the non luxury watches that are at risk from Apple Watch.

      3. Lie or better yet bogus talk!
        Few months ago his thoughts were” swiss watch industry is in trouble ….”
        Now they are not competing..
        Of Course they are…. Who is the “edition” for ?

        1. The Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport will definitely hurt the $300 – $1,000 Swiss watch market. The Edition is unlikely to ever affect the high end mechanical watch market. Different demographic. Watch in this realm is primarily a status/fashion vehicle.

    1. Just think of all the poor companies they didn’t try and compete with too….

      If Apple feels the need to actually come out and say “We are not trying to compete with X”, you can kiss X goodbye.

  3. Weird timing. As I just posted on another MDN article:

    I am currently feeling a bit bad for the Swiss watch manufacturers–and even for my stable of pretty nice watches. I don’t see taking my slick little Apple Watch off any time soon. Three hours, two workouts, and some wandering around the house, and minus a few quips, I’m smitten! 😀

  4. While the Apple Watch will definitely kill the lower end watch market, there is no way Rolex, Breitling, or Cartier will be effected. While A-List celebrities may be wearing the Edition watches now, most watch wearers won’t be trading in their Subs anytime soon.

    A man can wear 3 types of jewelry without looking ridiculous… Wedding ring, watch, and cuff links.

    While I have ever other type of Apple device in my house, I won’t be trading in my GMT anytime soon… Though I may eventually get the Sport for working out.

    In short… Rolex isn’t scared, nor should they be. A Rolex and Apple Watch are two totally different types of product.

    1. “I won’t be trading in my GMT anytime soon… Though I may eventually get the Sport for working out.”

      And that’s exactly how it will start.

      If the Apple Watch provides functions that are indispensable, or even just convenient, I think you’ll find yourself keeping it on longer and longer, a little more each day.

      Rolex should be very scared. The GMT hosted the ultimate wrist-mounted “app” for a Pan-Am pilot in the 50s (a second time zone). The Apple Watch will host the apps we’ll all demand on our wrists for the 21st century.

    2. Don’t bother getting the Apple watch for workouts. The heart rate monitor simply won’t be accurate enough to be useful. Exactly the same system has been used before and is simply unreliable.

  5. In this interview Ive flat out said they made a gold watch because they wanted to work with the material. My guess is Cook green lighted the gold watch because he knew it could be a halo product of sorts and would be good for marketing purposes. I don’t think it signifies in anyway that Apple going all in on luxury.

    1. Not to mention it gave Apple an opportunity to show off what high tech can do in manufacturing something in gold. The equipment they are using to do this is astounding. A CAD CAM users wet dream.

  6. What Johny is really saying; I’m a very rich guy, I spend my money on lots of collectibles including watches. My company wanted me to make a new category to grow revenue. This is why we created a watch that can do lots of different things that are not really meaningful for enriching peoples lives. So buy this watch which will be obsolete in one year. It will also waste your valuable time in life by looking at it’s face for more notifications, which you can get by looking at your phone anyway.

    What people really need to do is put down this technology stuff. Focus on real life.

    1. Yeah, my grandma used to say “we just need to get rid of all this technology.” Didn’t happen in her lifetime; won’t happen in mine. Nobody is going willingly part with a lighter and go back to rubbing two sticks together.

  7. The other watch makers claim that, unlike the Apple Watch, their watches are made to last for generations.
    Well, generations from now their watch still won’t do anything the Apple Watch does, except tell time.

  8. If they’re not trying to compete with luxury goods, then why did they make an Apple Watch that is made of 18k gold, and why are they selling some Apple Watches in luxury goods stores? I think Jony Ive is awesome, but he’s not being genuine when he says this.

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