James Moore: How Burberry's Angela Ahrendts will find herself facing the crunch over at Apple

Outlook "Do you still think I'm pretty?" is the lament of Apple's virtual PA app Siri in Microsoft's latest US ad, after she bemoans all the features the iPad lacks by comparison to Microsoft's Surface. As an attack ad, it's entertaining but still completely misses the point.

Because we do think iPads are pretty. Apple's success has been based on the fact that its products combine substance with lots of style. They command a premium price as a result. Late founder Steve Jobs was once famously fretful over ugly-looking screws used for the interior of one of those products even though they wouldn't be seen by consumers.

This ethos extends to the retail stores which Burberry's Angela Ahrendts has been poached to run.

Pretty is what they are. Spacious, stylish, and populated by bright, youthful and, yes pretty staff (the adjective applies to male as well as female models). They are showrooms for Apple's suite of pretty products.

Which is where John Browett, the former Dixons boss, fired and missed. He not only angered staff and customers with his plan to cut costs and impose redundancies at Apple stores, but (even worse) was partly responsible for a breathtakingly silly ad campaign (extolling the virtues of Apple staff).

Can Ms Ahrendts, another UK company CEO, albeit an American national, succeed where he failed? Selling style she clearly knows. On her watch Burberry has become a stock market superstar, a rare British retailer to not only survive but thrive beyond these shores. Wherever there is a growing economy throwing off consumers able to afford its prices, you will find Burberry.

It hasn't been a one-woman show. The creative director Chistopher Bailey deserves a big share of the credit. But as new CEO he will have to contend with a slower China than Ms Ahrendts enjoyed and the challenge of managing investors' sky-high expectations.

One of the key skills of the successful CEO is knowing when to leave. Burberry's prospects are hardly dim, but as Ms Ahrendts' successor Mr Bailey faces a tough job to maintain Burberry's pace.

Ms Ahrendts' challenge is no less daunting. She appears to be a better fit for a bigger role than Mr Mr Browett had and bringing her on board is an interesting move by Apple alongside its hiring of another luxury goods man, former Yves Saint Laurent boss Paul Deneve, for "special projects". For which read the iWatch? Apple's products might be pricey, but even with their premium they're just about affordable. They're still mass market rather than luxury. Pushing too far in that direction could be very dangerous.

As for Ms Ahrendts, she was the master of Burberry's destiny but at Apple she will be just a lieutenant. She'll have to fit in with the culture rather than defining it. That's something that hasn't always always proved easy at Apple.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
books
Sport
Nemanja Matic holds the Capital One Cup with Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday
football
News
people
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th-century cartographer created the atlas
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot