Op-Ed: With Apple Watch, being a celebrity counts
As we now know, supply issues have forced Cupertino to walk back from calling April 24 the Apple Watch launch date. Instead, this is simply the day when the company will begin delivering the wearable device to some of those who placed a preorder on April 10, myself included.
One arena where the Apple Watch seems in plentiful supply is with celebrities.
In recent days, J.J. Abrams, Karl Lagerfeld, Katy Perry, Pharrell, and Anna Wintour have each been sporting an Apple Watch in public. And by sport, I don’t mean that they’ve been seen wearing one of the least expensive models. No, these folks are wearing Apple Watch Edition models, which start at $10,000 each.
These celebrity sightings have bugged me and not because of class envy. I felt the same way when Apple CEO Tim Cook welcomed Christy Turlington Burns to the stage at the March 9 Apple Watch event. Burns is using an Apple Watch to help her train for a marathon. This journey is being heavily promoted on the Apple website.
So why don’t I like seeing famous people wearing an Apple Watch? It’s simple. They’re doing so while the rest of us need to wait. And unlike during past Apple product launches, these waits have no concrete end date. As I previously noted, my Apple Watch is being delivered between April 24 and May 8, according to my confirmation. This is a situation also being experienced by others who woke up in the middle of the night to place an early Apple Watch order.
Apple isn’t the first company to use celebrities to promote their products. However, there’s something a little more difficult about doing so when having to admit that the original Apple Watch launch date won’t be kept.
Besides, who are we kidding. These celebrities didn’t pay for their $10,000 Watches, which definitely adds insult to injury, in my humble opinion.
I don’t like to play the Tim Cook isn’t Steve Jobs game. However, in this case, it seems warranted.
In June 2007, the Los Angeles Times ran an interesting piece ahead of the first iPhone launch, entitled “Sorry, clout don’t count.”
Apple is controlling the iPhone’s exposure as if it were a movie star before a blockbuster’s opening day. The Cupertino, Calif., company doled out a small number to a carefully chosen group of reviewers — most of whom have raved about it. Silicon Valley legends, Wall Street analysts, Hollywood insiders and others used to getting the latest hot gadget before the masses have been forced to scramble for one.
“Lots of people have requested iPhones,” an Apple spokeswoman said. “No one is getting any special treatment.”
Much has changed since then, no?