September 8, 2014 Last Updated 8:58 am

Thanks to the Scots it won’t be all Apple all-the-time today (but it will be tomorrow)

Morning Brief: YouGov poll puts the independence movement in front, as September 18 vote nears; would Meredith really consider a spin-off?

Thank God for the Scots. If not for news that a poll now shows the independence position in front only ten days before the vote on September 18, it would be nothing by Apple rumors today.

A new YouGov poll shows shows a 2 point lead for the “Yes” campaign for independence, the first time the pro-independence side has led (though the lead is within the margin for error). The poll sent the Sterling tumbling and forced the British press to lead with the same story, sometimes almost the same headline, on front pages today.

Scotland-flagThe Scottish independence vote has not been big news in the States, but it got a bit of a boost today from a column in the NYT from economist Paul Krugman who cautions the Scots about the move. His position is that there are parallels between Scotland and Canada, but because Canada has its own currency it is in a better position to deal with economic troubles.

“Could Scotland have its own currency? Maybe, although Scotland’s economy is even more tightly integrated with that of the rest of Britain than Canada’s is with the United States, so that trying to maintain a separate currency would be hard,” Krugman writes.

“It’s a moot point, however: The Scottish independence movement has been very clear that it intends to keep the pound as the national currency. And the combination of political independence with a shared currency is a recipe for disaster.”


The second biggest news of the day in the UK is that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant with her second child. Congratulations, but really, this is the 21st Century, right? Maybe, but who knows what tomorrow may bring, word that Putin was crowned Czar?

Actually, what tomorrow will bring in an Apple event, which begins at 1pm ET/10 PT.

Apple expected to unveil new iPhone models, and give us a date for the release of iOS 8. But it turns out that it is the possibility of other new products that has the tech press twiterpating.

Most now expect Apple to enter the smart watch field, an increasingly crowded space still in search of any demand from consumers. “Smartwatches, as they currently stand, are trying to meet needs which most people simply don’t have,” an analyst for Jackdaw Research said in today’s NYT story on the subject.

The problem with watches is that it is a fashion item. Those who still wear watches do so for only two reasons: they always have and haven’t realized yet their their phones will tell them the time; and as a fashion item. Apple’s iWatch, assuming that is what it is called, must therefore either offer new capabilities that consumers actually want, and/or be beautiful enough for consumers to want to wear.

Most think Apple can pull off the first part, offering a series of health related capabilities that are, for now at least, new to the device. But I don’t think Apple can pull off the second demand, a fashionable watch.

That may, at first sound like a strange claim, you mean I don’t think Apple can design a good looking watch? No, of course it can. I just don’t think Apple, or any of the tech companies, are capable or willing to produce a fashionable line of watches.

What makes something fashionable is not its beauty but also its uniqueness. Designers design beauty dress or ties or shows all the time, but western consumers change their clothes daily and they don’t like wearing the same thing everyone else does. Even iPhone owners appear to want to be individuals and buy up cases for their phones so as to not look like everyone else. Is Apple willing to offer many designs? Maybe. Maybe they will launch the iWatch with more variety than they did iPods. We’ll see tomorrow. But I have my doubts about the whole category. But then again, I thought moving into smartphones was a bad idea for Apple… until I actually saw the iPhone.

Apple apparently does understand this dilemma. It has invited fashion writers from Marie Claire and Fashionista to the event tomorrow, according to Reuters. This might have interesting consequences, knowing what Apple execs like to wear on stage at these events. The problem with trying to enter the world of fashion is that it would actually have to enter the world of fashion – something that would seem a difficult chore for a company that has been so insular. But Apple has added several new hires from the world of fashion. Why couldn’t they do that from the world of publishing to boost its Newsstand and iBooks credentials?


Time Warner, News Corp, Tribune Company, Gannett… everyone it seems, who worked so hard to create a diversified media company, is spinning off its print publishing divisions. I am firmly convinced that the majority of CEOs are going in this direction for personal gain, not because it makes good business sense. (I actually think ol’ Rupert may be the only one doing this for good business reasons).

But could Meredith, a company known far more for its iconic magazine brands than its local broadcast properties, be the next to spin-off its print? At least one financial website thinks its possible, but whereas there was a lot of speculation concerning the other media companies, there has (until now) been little talk of Meredith following the other media empires in dividing itself.

But one can expect the analysts on the next earnings conference call to pursue this line of questioning next month.

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