Style.com Adds Juice to Apple’s iPhone With Couture and More


Invitation to New York Fashion Week get lost in the mail? Ours too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fishtail-train fix.

Thanks to Style.com, the Spring ’09 ready-to-wear collections of Charles Nolan, Diane Von Furstenberg, Preen and 14 other designers are now available via an application made exclusively for iPhone and iPod Touch. According to a recent New York Times article, the app offers pics and vids from last July’s couture collections as well as daily updates from many of this week’s runway shows.

Hot on the heels of design demigods Ralph Lauren and Chanel, both of which recently launched mobile apps, Style.com’s app isn’t one of Apple’s forgettable third-party throwaways; to fashionphiles, it’s the equivalent of Gianni Versace rising from the dead to revive what lil’ sis Donatella destroyed. It’s also as comprehensive as apps in this category come, with show listings, blog items, and images that when tapped reveal a model’s name and a short review of the show in which he or she appeared.

So what does all this mean for you, ye of double-breasted Diors and Hervé Léger handbags?

Well, it seems that despite losing 7.5 percent of the smartphone market share in Q1 2008 – down from 26.7 percent in Q4 2007 – Apple continues to be the go-to platform for individuals and corporations looking to make the lives of its cutting-edge consumer bases more convenient. Since the introduction of the App Store earlier this year, more than 2,000 apps have been created exclusively for the touch-screen handhelds, including programs by MySpace, Facebook, The Associated Press, eBay, PayPal, and CareerBuilder.com. Moreover, a staggering 60 million apps have been downloaded in the eight weeks since the App Store’s introduction.

Small businesses and startups also have seen success by creating mobile apps for iPhone. A quick visit to iTunes’ App Store reveals the proactive prescience of hundreds of organizations and individuals looking to capitalize on the craze. Among the top paid apps are “PocketGuitar,” ($.99, Shinya Kasatani) which transforms the phone into a virtual version of the instrument; “Election ’08,” ($.99, Chimp Software) featuring real-time information on who’s winning which state; and “Face Melter,” ($1.99, Nico Becherer) which generates funny facial expressions from users’ existing photos.

Such a sundry offering of innovation means only one thing for your company: Creating an app for iPhone and iPod Touch users is not only relevant but an increasingly successful way to keep your customers up-to-date and in tune.

It’s also, perhaps, the most efficient means of drumming up new business while simultaneously turning mobile materialists into your most loyal demographic: Data released yesterday by retail researcher NPD claims that from “January to July 2008, U.S. consumers bought 9 million smartphones, an increase of 84 percent from the same period a year ago.”

The results, published on PCMag.com, further state that while BlackBerry-maker RIM’s share of the market had grown by 24 percent and Palm’s share increased by 9 percent, Apple – growth data for which was not released – said that its market share had “leapt” with the release of the iPhone 3G in July.

Now, this trademark optimism of Apple’s – shrouded in secrecy, no less – isn’t as promising as solid stats, but it’s safe to speculate how far the tech firm has infiltrated its competitors’ territory: A trip to any Apple Store – now two months to the day after the 3G’s debut – will reassure you that Steve Jobs and Co. are poised for smartphone – if not world – domination; iPhones are still flying off shelves.

That’s good news for you. Because for every phone (and iPod Touch) Apple sells, your app has potential to impact a greater population, subsequently increasing your profit.

Given that upbeat outlook, isn’t it about time you took a bite?

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