HTC President: iPhones Aren’t Cool With Kids

    September 13, 2011

Even with the inroads made by the Android operating system in the mobile industry market share, the iPhone is still one of the most popular mobile devices in the world, and sales of the device are still very strong. In fact, during the second quarter of 2011, the iPhone was the most-shipped smartphone on the market.

However, if HTC’s president, Martin Fichter, is correct, Apple may be getting ready to face one of its biggest hurdles since it hit the market: No longer being cool in the eyes of teens and young adults. While he offers no metrics to support his idea, Fichter does have first-hand knowledge of the iPhone’s potential fall from grace in the eyes of the youngsters.

During the Mobile Future Forward conference, Fichter had the following thoughts concerning iPhones viability:

“…I brought my daughter back to college — she’s down in Portland at Reed — 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.’ 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 manufacture’s devices. If you look at a college campus, Mac Book Airs are cool. iPhones are not that cool anymore. We here are using iPhones, but our kids don’t find them that cool anymore.”

So are adults crashing the cool kids’ party, and therefore, making what was once cool not so cool anymore, or is this grandstanding by Fichter, who works for a company that’s in direct competition with Apple?

Even is teens and young adults are moving towards the Android platform–something earlier reports from Piper Jaffray disputes a great deal–is that because they iPhones aren’t cool or is that Android devices are largely cheaper than their Apple counterparts? From Piper Jaffray’s findings:

Teen buying trends in portable devices show the rising popularity of Apple’s iPhone and iPod. The market share of iPhone rose to 17 percent, and, in the next six months, 37 percent of surveyed teens intend to purchase an iPhone (up from 31 percent one year ago).

Now, it should be noted that Fichter’s way of thinking is not a new idea. When adults catch on to popular trends, kids have a tendency to migrate to something else.

Berkeley Breathed, creator of the timeless Bloom County comic strip addressed this phenomenon perfectly in a Sunday strip, way back in the early 1990s:

Bloom County

Does this mean because adults like iPhones, which, to be honest, is probably because their kids dig smartphones, and iPhones are apparently the phone to have if you’re an adult, that teens and young adults will start using other non-iPhone devices? Normally, that would be a safe bet, but take Facebook for example.

It’s clear adults have made their way over to that ubiquitous platform, and teens/young adults are still very much apart of the Facebook world. Besides, if there ever was something that qualified as a “first world problem,” teens not wanting to own an iPhone because their parents have one too is the perfect example. Furthermore, how many of these teens/young adults actually used their own money to buy that shiny new smartphone?

Does the “if parents like it, it’s not cool” caveat apply to the world of technology? Let us know what you think.