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Hello - Who's There? Your Dad!
It's true -- iPhones are not cool. That's not to say that they aren't desirable, and the iPhone 5 may well prove to be the cutting edge device we are hoping for, but many of the smartphone crowd do not care. While we are busy getting excited about dual-core processors and retina displays, there is a huge chunk of smartphone users that do not give a flying megapixel about owning an iPhone. These are the cool ones. The hip, young things that know when something is hot, have decided that the iPhone is definitely not.
The iPhone has become the epitome of what a smartphone should be and everybody wants one... even your dad. According to acting president of HTC America, Martin Fichter, this is the real problem. "I brought my daughter back to college... and I talked to a few of the kids on her floor. And none of them has an iPhone because they told me: ‘My dad has an iPhone.’" Fichter goes on to say that because of this, iPhones become a little less cool than they once were.
Apparently US college kids carry HTCs, Samsungs and the like, and the choice among British youth still seems to be the BlackBerry. Either way you look at it, they don't want an iPhone.
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Price Vs. Age
So is this really a cool issue or does it have more to do with price? After all, the iPhone is not the most accessible gadget from a financial point of view -- it's the most expensive smartphone out there. Of course the younger generation don't own an iPhone; it's too expensive! If recent rumors on upcoming iPhone releases are to be believed though, there is a definite possibility that we could be receiving two new members into the iPhone family in October -- one of these surely being a more budget-friendly alternative to the main event. I'm still not sure this would suddenly increase the iPhone's appeal to the young crowd though. It would appeal to those in the parent bracket, with a limited amount of cash, but wouldn't suddenly become the 'must-have' item for the cool guys, just because it was cheaper.
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Get With It Grandad
There are some pretty interesting statistics that do actually back up what Martin Fichter is saying. An AdMob report recently revealed that iPhone users were generally older -- 74 percent of iPhone users are over the age of 25, and 46 percent are parents. Against statistics for other smartphone types too, the research also showed that 70 percent of users are male. All pointing towards your average iPhone Joe as being a dad.
Neilson too, declare that while Android is increasing its share of young users, iPhone is falling behind. Taking the entire smartphone market and ages into account, Android has the largest percentage of users in the cool 18-24 bracket whereas iPhone has the largest percentage over any other platform in the 55+ category. When it comes to overall competition among the platforms, things are pretty level, but it's clear that each has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to attracting a particular market. And one of iPhone's strengths clearly isn't in attracting the hot, younger crowd.
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Victim of Their Own Success
Of course, you might also look at it from the point of view, that because iPhones have become so desirable and popular, this makes them less cool. Who wants a phone that everyone has got? You're just not going to stand out from the crowd with an iPhone. The best you can do to customize it is to dress it up with a case, but essentially every iPhone looks the same due to the "ease of use" that the platform has. There's no way to change the display to be more how you'd like it to be other than changing the wallpaper. There are no widgets, multiple homescreens, or any way to make your iPhone look different, just rows of app icons -- pretty dull to your college guys and gals who want stuff how they want it, not how someone else wants them to have it. Ease of use might as well translate as "being easy enough to use that even your Grandpa could work it out." Well guess what, Pa and Grandpa can work it out and that's why they have an iPhone.
Ironically, it's being the most desired smartphone out there that has led Apple into this position. Moms and Dads want to be cool too, and buying an iPhone is the perfect way to prove their cred easily -- learning hip hop moves just seemed like too much effort, what with their dodgy hip and all. Problem being that all Moms and Dads thought the same, and how uncool is it to have the same phone that your parents have -- it's like sooooo embarrassing!
Whatever the reason may be -- everyone has one, your Dad has one, they are too expensive for a young audience, they are a bit dull, or all of the above -- the upshot is that iPhones are not cool.
Everyone agrees with me right? Leave a comment if you have a different opinion -- I'd love to hear your point of view.
- Image Credit: Man on iPhone - kevinmarsh/flickr released under CC 2.0 Attribution Generic License
- Image Credit: iPhone gallery, www.apple.com/iphone/gallery
- Disclaimer: My own dad is extremely cool and owns a Samsung Galaxy S2 -- this article is not meant as a reflection of all dads, just the uncool ones.
- Image Credit: College kids, katsteph2007/photobucket
- Trends show Android gaining among the young and vivacious, http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/03/trends-show-android-gaining-among-the-young-and-vivacious/
- iPhone users are more likely to have children, http://news.softpedia.com/news/iPhone-Users-Are-More-Likely-to-Have-Children-than-iPod-touch-Owners-114326.shtml
- HTC Boss Speech, http://www.geekwire.com/2011/htc-boss-windows-phone-7-patents-iphones-cool-anymore