HTC president: iPhones are no longer cool

Sep 13, 2011
Tech

Don’t tell anybody in my Los Angeles neighborhood, but iPhones aren’t cool anymore. The president of HTC says so. During a presentation at the Mobile Future Forward conference in Seattle, Martin Fichter, acting president of HTC Americas, said that he discovered that the kids don’t think the iPhone is cool anymore after he spoke with […]

Don’t tell anybody in my Los Angeles neighborhood, but iPhones aren’t cool anymore. The president of HTC says so.

During a presentation at the Mobile Future Forward conference in Seattle, Martin Fichter, acting president of HTC Americas, said that he discovered that the kids don’t think the iPhone is cool anymore after he spoke with the dormitory friends of his daughter at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and informally polled them on their smartphone choices. According to a story from Mashable, Fichter found the students having skipped Apple’s devices as belonging to the previous generation.

‘None of them has an iPhone,’ Fichter said, ‘because they told me: “My dad has an iPhone.” There’s an interesting thing that’s going on in the market. The iPhone becomes a little less cool than it was. They were carrying HTCs. They were carrying Samsungs. They were even carrying some Chinese manufacturer’s devices.’

That’s an interesting viewpoint, and skipping over the not-minor detail that HTC is a major competitor of Apple’s, if the kids don’t think iPhones are cool anymore, it doesn’t seem to be hurting Apple any.

In fact, the release of the iPhone 5, expected in the first week of October or thereabouts, seems set to break some records. Rumor has it that both T-Mobile and Sprint could be carrying the iPhone 5 this fall. The iPhone 4 is currently the best-selling smartphone there is worldwide, and Apple has reportedly been making some big orders in preparation for the launch of the new device. Rumor has it the company has made orders of its suppliers somewhere in the order of 26 million iPhone 5’s (or whatever it ends up being called) for the end of the year, with another 30 or so million iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS models. That’s a heck of a lot of “uncool” iPhones.

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While it’s possible the iPhone is “Dad’s phone” in Portland, it’s certainly still hip everywhere else in the world. Much of the growth of the iPhone has been fueled by new markets. Rumor has it that Apple is adding another carrier in China, much like it did with Verizon in the U.S., which could seriously drive sales in the country. China has already been a huge market for the iPhone, and Apple has also expanded elsewhere in Asia and South America.

Fichter might not be altogether wrong, though. As Mashable reports, a recent analysis from recommendation engine Hutch finds that the iPhone is popular among older, more affluent people. Android devices are attracting a younger, hipper audience, and are popular among people who have a high school diploma but not necessarily much higher education. That does, in many respects, drop Android owners right in the middle of “cool,” as marketers see it.

Still, and not to sound like an Apple fan or anything, but it seems highly doubtful that the sales numbers will bear out Fichter’s opinion this fall. Perhaps he is seeing a growing trend as far as perception, but the iPhone still is hugely user-friendly. It’s absolutely bristling with games. It includes more apps than any other available platform. Those are things that surely help to circumvent the perception of Apple’s device being the smartphone of choice for the uncool generation.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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