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Rolex The Apple Killer

Rolex The Apple Killer

The Apple Watch strategy has been tweaked, and much of the evidence was on stage at the September 9th event. For all the talk of the Apple Watch being a fashionable status symbol, Tim Cook and his team had to be satisfied with second place after Rolex. Apple also changed strategies, no doubt from the lessons learned in the fight against the Swiss watch manufacturer.

The bullet point features of the redesigned Apple Watch include the addition of GPS and waterproofing, both of which push the wearable closer to being a fitness and activity tracker. Of course there will be changes to the chips and the software that increase the battery life and the functionality offered by updated hardware, that’s the natural way of things, but it’s worth nothing that the attachments for the watch straps remains identical.

That’s partly common sense, but as Apple has shown in the past common sense does not always match up with Apple’s vision of the future. If something needs to change (or be removed) Apple will do that (and will likely find a financial upside while doing so). Retaining the ability to use existing Watch Bands on the new smartwatches means that the first- and third-party market for watch bands remains unaffected.

Apple has never broken out sales figures of the Apple Watch, but I assume that the cheaper Apple watch models sold far more units than the high-end luxury market Apple Watches. Even with the volume of sales at the lower end, Tim Cook’s presentation pointed out that Apple’s entrance into the match market was not a complete success.

Apple was defeated by the biggest name in the business. Rolex stood proud at number one.

But it’s what was not only missing, but removed from the Apple Watch line-up that brings Cupertino’s new timepiece strategy into focus. Apple dropped the 18-karat gold version of the Apple Watch. In place of the five-figure cost of the high-end fashion accessory, Apple presented a new top-end Apple Watch made from ceramic materials… that costs a magnitude less than the gold timepiece.

It did not surprise me that Cook quickly moved on to the next slide that proclaimed the Apple Watch as the number one smartwatch. The latter is true, but the former is far more interesting. Even with the might of Apple, its attempt to break into the luxury market with a high-margin slice of technology – a business model that has seen it succeed with smartphones, tablets, laptops and desk-bound computers – failed.

And Apple’s response to Rolex and its performance in the high-end watch market? To turn away from the status symbol of the luxury priced model and focus on a mix of fitness, fun, and fashion. There’s nothing wrong with that (and it should be noted that a similar approach was taken by Swatch when it started) but it’s one of the few areas where Apple has started a commercial fight and not seen it through.

For me this is a good thing. Apple is happy to push forward and experiment with new ideas, but it should be free to change course if something is not delivering. The Apple Watch is the world’s number one smartwatch, but as yet there is no clear answer to what the public are looking for in a smartwatch. Apple’s corrective action pushes the wearable category away from luxury. The next experiment is to enhance the fitness and activity tracking and see what effect this has.

Rolex may have defeated Apple, but this is one battle where the result has made Apple stronger.

Show Jumping at the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show

Show Jumping at the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show

There was a surprising finish under the lights for the featured show jumping grand prix in the heart of Manhattan, at one of the most innovative equestrian competitions in the world.

September 24, 2016 -- It's a tradition at Rolex-sponsored shows to have a contest in the press room for journalists to guess who would win the big class. The reward for the best prediction? A bottle of champagne.

But it went unclaimed last night at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show because the smart money was on World Number Two Kent Farrington, World Number Four McLain Ward, Irish speedster Conor Swail (my pick) or sentimental favorite Georgina Bloomberg, who won the debut grand prix in her hometown two years ago.

Jimmy Torano of the U.S. lifts the trophy for the $216,000 Rolex U.S. Open CSI 3-Star Grand Prix as runner-up Sharn Wordley of New Zealand, third-place Conor Swail of Ireland and Rolex Central Park Horse Show founder Mark Bellissimo look on. (Photo copyright 2016 by Lawrence J. Nagy)

No one figured that the top placing in the $216,000 Rolex U.S. Open CSI 3-star feature would go to Jimmy Torano, a 51-year-old Floridian better known at this point for his TV/live stream commentating than his riding.

He was as surprised as anyone else to find his 37.05-second fault-free trip on Daydream in the 10-horse tiebreaker was good enough to take the honors. Jimmy was rewarded by a champagne soaking on the podium with top-drawer Laurent Perrier bubbly from runner-up Sharn Wordley of New Zealand, who had the only other clean round in the jump-off on Barnetta, and third-place Conor, who was fastest with Cita but dropped a rail. I would have rather had a toast with the champagne and sipped it, but the fans enjoyed the moments of mayhem.


The Manhattan skyline offered the perfect backdrop for Jimmy Torano and Daydream on their way to victory. (Photo copyright 2016 by Lawrence J. Nagy)
Jimmy, who is never at a loss for words, seemed a bit dazed by the glory of performing a victory gallop before a sold-out house at the Wollman Rink, where the lights of towering skyscrapers made a dazzling but almost surreal backdrop for a horse show.

There is no question that he was a longshot, starting with the fact that he almost didn't get into the show.

Jimmy wasn't on the original list of qualifiers, but hoped someone would drop out, so he asked for permission to jog his mount at the horse inspection. When one spot opened up, though, he gave it to his wife, Danielle, figuring she had a better chance to do well with her 9-year-old Callas III than he did with the less-experienced Daydream, who he bought two years ago as a 6-year-old. Then as his luck would have it (seems like destiny in hindsight) another slot became available and he was in.

But Jimmy wasn't even having a Daydream, so to speak, that he would wind up on top.

$216,000 Rolex U.S. Open Grand Prix winner Jimmy Torano and Daydream. (Photo copyright 2016 by Lawrence J. Nagy)
“I didn't think I was going to come in and win the class,” marveled Jimmy, whose wife finished out of the money with 4 faults in the first round.

While he was a longshot, so was the show. For years, people had talked about holding a jumping competition in Central Park, but dismissed the concept as undoable. Most, I think, were looking at staging it on grass, perhaps in the Sheep Meadow section, but Mark Bellissimo had a better idea by putting it in the rink.

Mark, who runs the hugely successful Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla., and the Tryon, N.C., International Equestrian Center, believes that the Central Park show can get more people interested in horses and show jumping. The top ticket price is $125, which limits the audience, but admission to tomorrow's exhibitions are free.

Perhaps Jimmy was rewarded for a good deed--he saw a ticketless mother and daughter looking longingly at the show ring from outside the fence, so he made their day by giving them two wristbands that got them in the door. Karma for sure.

Even with nearly a third of the 34 starters making the tie-breaker, it was obvious that the course was quite a test. It snaked around the relatively narrow confines of the odd-shaped rink, used for skating in the winter, and required a horse with power steering rideability.

The last fence, topped with a delicately balanced white plank at the maximum height of 5-feet, 3-inches, drew a moan from the crowd when Peter Wylde had it down with Aimee. Frankly, I thought it would cause more trouble than it did, but faults were scattered around the course.

That's typical of the routes laid out by one of my favorite course designers, Guilherme Jorge, who just returned from doing the floor plans for the Olympics in his native Brazil.
I asked him about the test he set. To watch the video of what he had to say, click on the right-pointing arrow.

Paul Pogba returns to clear out his Juventus locker and buys all his former staff a Rolex watch

Paul Pogba returns to clear out his Juventus locker and buys all his former staff a Rolex watch

The worlds most expensive player left thousands of pounds worth of designer gear in his Juventus locker when he quit the club for Manchester United this summer.

And the £109million midfielder took advantage of his day off by making the trip back to Juventus’ home ground to collect his expensive clobber which included a bundle of shoes, boots and fancy shirts.

However according to Tuttosport, Pogba also gave every staff at the club including teammates, coaching staff and club officials an expensive watch – believed to be a Rolex.

Pogba built a reputation as being one of the world’s greatest midfielders during his four years in Turin.

It is certainly a generous gift from the France international who is believed to be earning a mammoth £220,000-a-week at Old Trafford.

But the 23-year-old has struggled to find form since his return to United this season and is yet to score or assist under Jose Mourinho.

The United boss has come under increasing criticism for playing Pogba in the wrong position with supporters hoping to see more of his trademark bursting runs through midfield.

Follow Manchester United’s clash with Premier League champions Leicester withSunSports live blog.

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