Can Apple take health and fitness wearables mainstream?


By Anthony Galvin

Apple’s Keynote announcement provided much more detail about Apple’s approach to health and fitness tracking. Although many software features and APIs linked to the ‘Health Kit' software were announced at WWDC in June, it's only now that we are able to see how this fits into Apple's functionally integrated eco-system.

The new iPhone has a dedicated health and fitness (M8) co-processor (tasked with tracking movement) and uses ‘native’ GPS functionality to understand the amount and the type of activity a user achieves during the day. Combined with heart rate monitoring and additional motion tracking in the Apple Watch, developers now have a huge amount of data available.

The list of start-ups, app developers and innovative businesses who think that health and fitness tracking hardware and software represents the future of wellness is a long one. But this is already a crowded market with the likes of Fitbit, Jawbone and Polar already forcing established players such as Nike to rethink their approach. At the time of writing the #1 paid app in the UK Apple app store is a £1.49 health and fitness app - Apple knows how much money health and fitness is worth to the developer community (and how much it makes through App Store revenues).

But the challenge for many in this space is not getting people to part with their well earned cash, but to convince people to continue to use (and recommend) their products. Some reports claim that between 50% and 75% of users stop using their wearable device within six months. 

With Health Kit, Apple and its developers are hoping to use the fact that your phone (and or watch) is always with you to create new metrics and supercharge existing apps such as Nike+ or Strava, all without users having to do anything more than carry a phone or wear a watch.

Whilst Apple are not the first phone and device manufacturers to incorporate fitness data into their products, by creating a simple way for users track and interact with powerful data and complex metrics they may have helped fast forward the category beyond the fitness enthusiasts and brought health wearables into the mainstream.

Photo via Apple

"Demand drives functionality"


By Chris Walker

I went on a walk through San Francisco today to get some real time feedback (and pre-thoughts) on Apple’s Keynote presentation.  There was surprisingly less energy today than expected. Almost everyone was interested, but hardly anyone was engaged. Around 11AM, I was grabbing coffee and chatting with a student reading Robert Crumb’s Kafka.  He was eager to hear about the new iPhone, but not doing much to keep up with the conversation (the iPhone 6 and 6 plus had already been officially released).  Despite the head-glued-to-live-Twitter-feed scenario that I expected, there were some brilliant soundbytes before, during and after the keynote. 

 “Demand dictates functionality”

My UberPool driver said this as he took me from just outside the office to Sightglass coffee in the Mission. It was also before the keynote had started. 

We were talking about the difference between swiping and pressing a button to unlock a phone.  While that conversation is not particularly interesting, it is hyper-relevant for a device like the Apple Watch.  

As consumers, we are always looking for something new and something more. In the case of the Apple Watch, among other things, we were looking for a way to use our phones without interrupting dinner conversations. With the ability to respond in emojis and pay with our wrist, it is clear that consumer demand influences product function.  

“To be honest, I need a small phone because I wear tight pants and a big phone just doesn’t fit.  A thinner phone would be awesome”

Enter the phablet.  For some it’s a huge leap forward (or a huge catch up).  For an employee from Steven Alan, it’s a massive challenge.   Indeed, everyone I spoke to seemed to have a clear opinion on screen size, and it was almost equally divided between people praising and condemning the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus’s bigger screens.  

As soon as I heard this, I immediately thought back to when the iPhone 5S was released. It was bigger, it was different at first, but after a week or two, it felt completely natural.  

The new iPhones are a different beast.  But, something like phone size is massively important not just for fitting in pockets.  It changes the way we hold the device, what we do on the device, and how we consume media. 

“Why is it called the Apple Watch not the iWatch?”

This is my favorite little bit from today. I was talking to an older man over lunch that didn’t know that Apple had a conference today, let alone that they were releasing a watch today. I told him a bit about it, and, in the middle my explanation, he asked why Apple Watch, not iWatch?  

Brilliant question. Where a product falls in an ecosystem, and what it’s named, are two incredibly relevant questions (especially for us at Wolff Olins who think about architecture and naming all the time). For Cedric, the older man at lunch, it was purely a matter of comprehension. If the iPhone and Apple Watch are in conversation with one another, why wouldn’t the watch be an iWatch?

 Perhaps it’s a legal question. Perhaps we’re growing up and getting sick of the ‘i’ everything. Maybe Apple Watch feels less inspector-gadgety than iWatch.  Whatever the reason, Cedric’s question clearly demonstrates the role that a name plays in navigating such firmly established territory. 


Apple Watch goes DIN


By LA Hall

Apple’s font loyalty has been a bit all over the place in recent years. With iOS and OSX Yosemite seemingly going Helvetica Neue, Apple fanboys and typography nerds may have noticed DIN creep in as the perplexing choice of font for the Camera app with the iOS 7 update. With the launch of the Apple Watch, however, perhaps that wasn’t an accident after all - most, if not all, of the watch’s UI has been built around DIN. They’ve even included it in the metallic engraving of the hardware, as well as rounded cuts for the running app.

I’m definitely a fan of the hard-working DIN family, even if it’s slightly overused. But I can’t help but wonder how they came to that decision, since Helvetica has established itself in mobile iOS, and now desktop OSX, with Lucida Grande retired. And of course Myriad Pro for communications, like on their website. So why DIN for the Apple Watch?

If anything, Apple have some work to do figuring out how everything (UI and hardware) fits together, especially with a shiny, new addition to the family.

Update: As it turns out, our original hunch was correct that it is indeed a custom font developed internally (which appears to be a close cousin of DIN).

Music Tech Fest

By Karl Sadler

This weekend felt like a geeky dream come true. I’m talking Music Tech Fest, a three day’er of music technologists and artists coming together to challenge the way we think about music in both an artistic and academic way. I spent most of Saturday hanging out, drinking beer, and making music with hackers and some of my heroes like Matt Black from Coldcut and Tim Exile famous for his ‘finger’ synthesizer and live performance software. It is a global event and was started a few years ago by the talented Michela Magas.

Branding is a multi-sensory experience and it’s fantastic to be part of a community of music tech explorers playing with how wearable physical computing can help us get closer to adaptive audio and sound that shapes itself around our daily lives. At the moment, it all looks a bit bionic, but this research will start dripping into our everyday interactions with tomorrow’s brands. These guys shed light on the futuristic relationship we have with music, sound and its progressive technology.
Watch the weekend’s event archive films here.

Image via @RSElectronics


A five point plan for Tesco


 By Robert Jones

1. Don’t try to compete with Aldi and Lidl. Your business model is too expensive. (You could buy one of them, though I guess they’re not for sale.)

2. Be yourself. Stop pretending. The fascia of my local Tesco Express now says ‘Est. 2009’. This is ridiculous - you’re not a little local shop and no-one will ever think you are. No-one’s taken in by the Harris & Hoole brand, either.

3. Be brave enough to throw away the recent past. Your hugely expensive store refurbishments look like necessary spring cleaning, not a great new customer experience - they don’t go nearly far enough. Your stores are still ugly and joyless.

4. Give much more power to store managers. Let stores develop their own personalities and serve their own markets. Budgens is a good model.

5. Change what you’re good at. Less about distribution and negotiation and volume. More about customers and food and choice and the exuberance of the street market. You can’t always be cheap, but you must once again be cheerful.

For more thinking from Wolff Olins on the task facing new Tesco CEO Dave Lewis, click here.

Self Help


By Manlio Minale (in response)

Does Modern Britain really equal ‘good, better and best’ Tomato Ketchup?!?

Tesco has lost its way. But all is not lost.

All great retailers understand people and society and have a sixth sense when spotting opportunities to offer the products, services and experiences that people want now, in 6 days, 6 weeks and 6 months. They are almost a part of the psyche of the country – they get us, and in return we like them and spend money with them.

That’s why Aldi and Lidl are kicking butt. Because they recognise times are tight and are giving us what we need and are helping us in our everyday lives.

Tesco has unfortunately forgotten the basic principle in retailing – we are king. So instead of focusing on the boardroom and constantly chopping-up and segmenting what they offer to us, they need to go back to basics and understand what Modern Britain needs from a retailer in the 21st century. Tesco needs to focus on connecting us up to the brands, experiences and offers we need and deserve.

In short, a question for them to answer…

Does Modern Britain =
'Good, better, best' tomato ketchup?
Endless aisles of mundane products?
A plastic clubcard?
A fake coffee bar?
Ready-made meals for one?
Copy-cat own brands?


Modern Britain =
Desire to improve our everyday lives
Get more for less (and deliver it to our homes)
Educate our families on what’s authentic and what’s good for us
Working in new and more flexible ways
Whilst staying up to speed with technology
And still being able to laugh (yes our quirky sense of humour)

However all is not lost for Tesco.

They have unique ingredients for being able to create a 21st retailer for Modern Britain. They have the data and knowledge on what modern Britain is really about and a network that covers the whole country and new leadership with a desire to move away from the boardroom into our lives again. To create not just a brand for Modern Britain, but to connect consumers to the brands that Modern Britain deserves.

If they do this successfully, we may venture in there again… rather than going to Aldi.

Self service

imageBy Chris Moody

I believe Tesco’s problem is in its purest sense a ‘brand’ problem.

They have too much ‘brand’…

They have believed their own hype (or advisors). They are now drowning in a sea of pointless ‘branded properties’ with confusing ‘price drops’ and ‘click&collects’ and ‘club cards’ and ‘club points’ nonsense speak that works well in testing. Marketing wallpaper with all the joy of the real world stripped out.

The problem is acute but simple.

They need the boardroom to get out of the boardroom. They need to stop using real people just as focus group guinea pigs and start treating them as real valuable board members, with real power to influence real change.

Only then will they be able to reconnect with any relevance.

This is made more vital by Dave Lewis’s background. Leahy stacked shelves so did Clarke. Mr Lewis is a marketeer by trade.

To trigger this we could suggest the creation of a new ‘board’ (which will host it’s very first board meeting at regents wharf naturally). A board better structured to deal with real needs of 21C shoppers not just a bunch of the 1% working out how best to unsettle the competition.

A board with real power and influence constructed of clever thinkers and people with real knowledge but most of all…

This C suite should reflect the customer…

Chief ‘feeding two kids’ Officer
Chief ‘tesco metro is ruining my business’ Officer
Chief ‘where’s the real people at the checkouts’ Officer

Let’s not aim to reinvent Tesco

Let’s reinvent the mindset of a global corporation to make it less self

We’re hiring: Design Director, NYC

This is the most senior ‘hands on’ creative role at Wolff Olins.  Your primary job is to lead and be responsible for the creative success of medium-sized to large projects – often more than one at the same time. You’ll be responsible for leading a design team, and you should be brilliant at inspiring and organizing them.  You’ll be expected to inspire complete confidence in clients – so you’ll need to see the bigger strategic picture, fully understand client’s worlds and be persuasive and authoritative. You’ll be expected to make big creative calls on behalf of the client and Wolff Olins, so your judgment and decision-making skills should be excellent. You should be a great planner who constantly thinks ahead about the needs of the team, the account and the client – able to prioritize, delegate and understand resourcing needs.

You can come from any design background, but you must be 100% credible as a leader in our core discipline of graphic design. Multi-disciplinary and digital experience is favorable, 6+ years of creative experience preferred.

If this describes you, please email your resume and anticipated salary range to with the subject: DD in NY.

Please note: While we appreciate everyone’s interest in Wolff Olins, due to high number of applicants, we can only respond directly to those who best qualify and meet the specific criteria and standards of these roles.

2014 Fall / Winter Wolff Olins Internships


Each of our interns is a considered an integral part of our teams. We expect you to contribute directly to all work, engage in projects and treat this as a real job. While doing this, you will learn from some of the most brilliant minds in branding.


Email: Please send your resume and cover email to

Subject Line:  Use title below

Deadline: 9/15/2014

Please note: While we appreciate everyone’s interest in Wolff Olins, due to high number of applicants, we can only respond directly to those who best qualify and meet the specific criteria and standards of these roles. All interns are responsible for securing their own visas.


We’re looking for an energetic, one-of-a-kind account management intern to work with our team in our New York City office. Working under our top account managers, you’ll support a range of client projects and gain real perspective on the many ways we help clients achieve their business and brand goals. You’ll get to:

- Creatively problem solve a diverse range of challenges, from keeping projects on-time and on-budget, to helping brainstorm and pin down that next ‘big idea’

- Collaborate closely with an eclectic group of experts in design, strategy and production

- Manage the many, many details that need to come together to create big impact


The business development intern will assist the US-based business development team with various projects, supporting the revenue generation plan for North America. The intern’s primary responsibility will be to identify and vet opportunities through research and analysis of companies in the news, as well as new business inquiries, and other in-coming opportunities. The intern will learn to craft an opportunity analysis to allow management to quickly and confidently assess promising opportunities, and then package research findings concerning qualified leads into a briefing kit for the pitch team. This individual will also help prepare sales collateral (for outreach and responses to requests for information) by creating and/or aggregating assets that leverage the most relevant content available in order to position Wolff Olins in the best possible light. Finally, based on the needs of the WO business development team, the intern will be assigned a project to complete in collaboration with interns from other disciplines (account management, design, strategy, etc.).


- Some knowledge of or exposure to business development in an agency environment or other professional services category

- Highly motivated with a passion for identifying new opportunities 

- Knowledgeable of the general business landscape 

- Analytic ability demonstrated by research skills 

- Interpersonal skills, sociable, confident

- Self-Starter, resourceful and able to work independently

- Proficient at using the entire Microsoft Office Suite especially PowerPoint and Excel

- Reliable, organized, detail-oriented

- Able to prioritize quickly and to readjust priorities throughout the day

MARKETING INTERN (NY) Fall/Winter 2014

We’re looking for an intern to work with our team in New York and liaise with counterparts in San Francisco and London. In this role, you’ll focus on creating content and contributing to social media platforms. You’ll gain hands-on experience creating, writing and promoting our thinking and work related to brand, business, technology and design.

You’ll get to:

- Work with our global content manager on social media community management

- Partner with members of our marketing, new business and strategy teams to write and develop content for our owned channels (e.g. blog, newsletter, social media)

- Provide background information and research to support proactive media outreach

We’re looking for someone who is:
Super resourceful, Self-starter and proactive, Strong writer, Well versed in social networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, Curious about what’s happening in the world of business, technology and design, Passionate about branding, marketing, business or communication.

We’re hiring: Account Director, NYC

Our Account Directors (ADs) are responsible for managing large, complex accounts and multi-layered pillar clients. In addition to actively influencing, contributing and presenting client work, our ADs must show proactive involvement in developing new business opportunities and initiatives for our clients. This includes contributing to large-scale RFPs, recommending project plans/approach/budgets, and ultimately attending and presenting at pitches.  ADs lead pillar clients and become key partners with the client for planning and growth, constantly thinking ahead about the needs of the multi-discipline team and client.    

SKILLS: Excel, PowerPoint and Word / Excellent writing skills / Advanced presentation and negotiation skills / workshop facilitation

SOFT SKILLS: Sound judgment and intuition / Exceptional people skills (i.e. management, direction, facilitation, engagement, development) / Pushes the boundaries / Business savvy /Buttoned up / prioritize, delegate and empower

EXPERIENCE: 8 + Experience (corporate, brand or client side) with excellent understanding of brand and strategy and international client experience.

 If this describes you, please email your resume and anticipated salary range to with the subject: AD in NY.