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Jony Ive on Apple iWatch: Switzerland is in trouble

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Ahead of the Sept. 9 event of Apple, in which the company is widely expected to finally reveal its entry into the wearable technology market with the much-rumored iWatch, Apple's design head told the New York Times that traditional watchmakers are in trouble.

Jonathan Ive, the design chief of Apple, reportedly bragged to Nick Bilton, a reporter from the New York Times, of how cool he thought that the iWatch was turning out.

Ive even happily said that Switzerland is in trouble, referring to the traditional watchmakers from the country that have been in the watch industry for decades.

However, in the interview with Bilton, Ive reportedly used a much bolder term for the word "trouble" to signify his thoughts on the challenges that Switzerland will be facing once Apple's iWatch is released to the public.

Ive's comments are part of a larger story of Bilton that criticizes the designs of current gadgets in the wearable technology industry, which has Bilton proposing to rename the industry as "ugly tech."

Bilton criticizes the Pebble, the Neptune Pine, and the current smartwatch offerings of Samsung, LG and Sony for their unappealing designs.

"Today's wearables are ugly and clunky because tech is a very male-centric industry, and as a result wearables are too ugly for most people," said Ready to Wear: A Rhetoric of Wearable Computers and Reality-Shifting Media author Isabel Pedersen. "A wearable can't really hope to become part of everyday culture until these companies consider more than just the technology." 

However, Bilton believes that Apple will be able to turn around the perceived ugliness of the devices in the industry, citing the iPod as a tech product that Apple was able to turn in to a fashionable accessory. Apple was also able to make smartphones into a status symbol with the iPhone, and turned tablets from a nerdy gadget into a sexy device with the iPad.

For most wearable technology manufacturers, the focus should probably be shifting from the device's capabilities to the design. Research companies are predicting that the company that will be able to get the right combination of functionality and fashion will be able to sell hundreds of millions of smartwatches in the coming years.

"It's been hard for existing tech companies to get this new competency of fashion, and it's going to be hard for existing fashion companies to get the competency of tech," said Blueprint vice president Katherine Hague. "People are finally starting to realize that it has to be fashionable for it to cross that chasm into a non-tech market." 

Apple's Sept. 9 event will also be featuring the iPhone 6, and will be held in the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, where the original Mac was debuted in 1984 by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

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