We’ve moved the definition of sexy to new heights. The Tesla model S has a defining, sexy shape. Clothing can make a woman look sexy. Almost any non-industrial design that appeals to the eye today is defined as sexy. Apple knows that sex sells.
Feel The Sexiness
My father was an engineer for General Motors and later Toyota. Just as a Harley Davidson motorcycle sounds different than a Honda, my father told me that car makers want their doors to close with a comfortable, secure thud sound, and devote considerable engineering effort to reward our senses.
Apple’s Jonny Ive designs devices to look and feel like luxurious but functional baubles, embodied with industrial design techniques that evoke quality, security, comfort, and ooz a little bit of sexiness.
Why? It’s sex that separates quality products from mundane. Sexiness appeals to an inner emotion that isn’t always easily defined, but like SCOTUS and p-o-r-n, you’ll know it when you see it.
It should not come as a surprise that Apple has hired a number of fashion executives to manage new products and Apple’s highly acclaimed stores. Customers who can try on new fashions are more apt to buy. An Apple Store is like a shrine to new products. Apple announces a new iPhone and the lines form at the stores. Why? So customers can touch and feel the sexiness Apple puts into the latest and greatest.
That fact that an iPhone, an iPad, or a mac can be a status symbol and utilitarian at the same time is great for the company’s bottom line, and few tech companies can do the deed as well as Apple. Samsung tries. Microsoft is trying. Google is run by propeller headed, pocket protector-clad geeks and just doesn’t understand what is ingrained in Apple’s design ethic.
Sexy designs sell. The entire Swiss watch industry lives by a similar design ethic. All that’s glitter isn’t gold, but glitter sells, and there’s big money in well crafted utility products (a watch) that also double up as fashion statements.
That brings me to Apple’s iWatch. What will set it apart? Apple’s design ethic will ensure that whatever wearable the company makes will be both a fashion statement, a status symbol, but a usable utility that oozes sexiness.