While iPhone sales have still been high, everything else has been looking down over at Apple. iPad sales and revenue forecasts have slowed, as have retail sales – sales grew 7 percent last year, as opposed to 33, 44, and 47 percent in the years before. But, more than anything, Apple is getting dangerously close to just not being cool anymore – arguably Apple’s strongest selling point of all.
So, it makes sense that Apple is bringing in Angela Ahrendts, former CEO of Burberry, to run retail operations. Ahrendts is best remembered for restoring Burberry’s luxury status – Tim Cook and friends might be curious to know whether or not she can work that same kind of magic over at Apple, a brand that is losing its luster to the rise of Samsung, et. al. After all, Ahrendts didn’t just boost profits dramatically during her time at Burberry – she did it while working trendy technology into trendy fashion. She should fit in just fine.
Ahrendts becomes the only female member of Apple’s senior management, and, incidentally, the only one outside of Tim Cook himself with experience at the head of a multinational corporation. According to a c|net report, Ahrendts has a long history in design and fashion, including work with Donna Karan and Liz Claiborne. That makes it a great move for Apple, who – dare we say it? – is probably in need of an image makeover. Maybe we’ll see that start at Apple stores once Ahrendts gets settled in. We should certainly anticipate to see something with a bit of razzle dazzle from Ahrendts. Hopefully, it will be impactful enough to breathe new life into the stores without alienating life-long consumers. Will the Genius Bar be forced to tone down the Hipster chic? Only time will tell.