HTC executive: “iPhones are for old people”


Martin Fichter, acting president or HTC America makes a stimulating market observation as Chris Taylor at Mashable points out:

Speaking at the Mobile Future Forward conference in Seattle, Fichter related a story about taking his daughter to Reed College in Portland, where he took an informal survey of her dormitory buddies. “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.”

Now whilst it’s highly anecdotal, I think he’s got a point. You need money to own an iPhone. To have the right amount of disposable income to afford the iPhone, you are probably going to skew older than your average student who might not want to commit to say $60 a month for two years.

$60 buys a good amount of beer.

Mashable’s Chris reckons that portraying the iPhone as uncool is a rather risky strategy, given the iPhone 5 is en route.

I’m not sure if I agree.

I don’t think the iPhone is at all cool any more. Indeed the shine wore off pretty quickly last year when I got on the train and found a Vicky Pollard (see above) look-a-like with an iPhone 4. I was still using a 3GS that I hadn’t bothered to upgrade. (Read: “Vicky Pollard has an iPhone 4; You are not cool any more“)

iPhone is increasingly vulnerable when it comes to ‘coolness’ because, well, anyone can have one nowadays. Provided you pass the credit check you can have an iPhone 4 for zero cash up front here in the UK on a 24-month contract. It’s the tightrope any brand walks in this situation. I’m keen to see how Apple handle this with the next generation of devices.

Will the iPhone 4 16GB move to a much more accessible £249 up-front, whilst the iPhone 5 moves into the £500 slot? Or will we see a controlled price drop across the quarters? e.g. £349, £299, £249.

Bring it on…

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

One reply on “HTC executive: “iPhones are for old people””

I think Apple have made quite a big error with their ‘one model at a time’ (ok, technically 2, but one is an older version) policy. The phones are just way too common. I know a lot of people are like me, once somebody they know has got a certain model, they don’t then want to get that same model. Especially if they know the original buyer well.
Apple had it correct with their iPod strategy – three (then eventually four with the iPod touch) lines, some available in assorted colours that allowed everybody to say they had an iPod while still allowing for a small amount of individuality.Combine the lack of individuality with the high price and you start to see this effect where students/young people will look to the competition. As a student in the UK I see the same thing really. Yes, there are iPhones about, but you’re much more likely to see somebody using a BlackBerry (usually a Curve 8250) or any sort of HTC Android device. Though it is more often than not a BlackBerry.However, having said that, looking at the financials, Apple seem to be doing well so who am I to criticize?

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