IDOL HANDS

Ap­ple used to make celebri­ties wait for its prod­ucts. Now, they’re jump­ing the queues

Mac Format - - APPLE WORLD -

One of the things I’ve al­ways loved about Ap­ple is its at­ti­tude to celebri­ties. With other firms, the celebrity is the per­son you pay to pro­mote your prod­uct. With Ap­ple, the celebrity has al­ways been the prod­uct.

Ap­ple didn’t be­lieve in let­ting peo­ple jump the queue, no mat­ter who they were. As NBA leg­end Shaquille O’Neal re­calls, his fame cut no ice when he tried to get the first iPhone from Steve Jobs. “I used to call him ev­ery other day," he said. “Can I please get one first? Can I please get one first? He never gave me one. He said, ‘Shaq, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.’” Many other celebri­ties (and their agents) tell sim­i­lar sto­ries. If you wanted the lat­est Ap­ple prod­uct, you got in line with ev­ery­one else. But not any­more. While the rest of us waited for an op­por­tu­nity to or­der the Ap­ple Watch, the de­vices started to turn up in celebrity snaps. We saw the Watch on Kanye West’s wrist. We saw the Mickey Mouse face su­per­im­posed on Katy Perry’s fish­net-stockinged legs. We saw Drake wear an en­tire red en­sem­ble to match the colour of his Sport Band. And we saw fash­ion designer Karl Lager­feld wear­ing a fan­tas­ti­cally vul­gar cus­tom gold Watch worth $25,000. It looked like some­thing you would find in an Egyptian pyra­mid. Is the Watch re­ally the celebrity here? Celebrity endorsements work. They work even though we sus­pect the celebrity doesn’t have a clue how to charge the de­vice, let alone make sense of apps. They work even when the celebrity un­does all the good work, such as when Sam­sung pays celebs to pro­mote its phones and they post their praise from iPhones, or go on Twit­ter to tell tales of their Sam­sung wip­ing all their data.

I have noth­ing against celebri­ties. I like to see Zooey Deschanel in Ap­ple ads, be­cause she’s lovely. I like to see bla­tant Ap­ple prod­uct place­ment in films and TV shows, be­cause if the pro­gramme’s bor­ing I can count the Ap­ple kit in­stead. And I’m aware that other firms go much fur­ther, whether that’s Sam­sung’s White Glove meet­ings with celebs. Or the prac­tice of ap­point­ing will.i.am, Lady Gaga or Ali­cia Keys to some mean­ing­less cre­ative role as In­tel, Po­laroid and Black­Berry did. But still, this feels very un-Ap­ple. Would Steve Jobs have begged Bey­oncé, or courted Kanye or Katy? I think we all know the an­swer.

If we can judge a com­pany by the com­pany it keeps, then it’s clear that Tim Cook’s Ap­ple is start­ing to think very dif­fer­ently. Free­lance writer Gary Mar­shall bought an Ap­ple Watch Sport. “Don’t buy one if you have young kids," he warns. “It’s a tod­dler mag­net.”

We saw Karl Lager­feld wear­ing a fan­tas­ti­cally vul­gar cus­tom gold Watch worth $25,000

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