Acting president of HTC America claims the iPhone is no longer cool

Martin Fichter, the acting president of HTC America has been talking at the Mobile Future Forward conference in Seattle. He claims that college kids no longer find the iPhone to be cool. The information that he shares is not exactly based on hard facts; he talked with a few of the kids on his daughter’s floor and came to this rather strange conclusion!

“Apple is innovating. Samsung is innovating. We are innovating. Everybody is innovating. And everybody is doing different things for the end consumers. 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.”

I discussed this at length with my 12 year old daughter this morning and she sort of agreed with the points being made. Blackberry appears to be the chosen platform at her school although she did say that iPhones were still very  highly desired. The cost and delicate nature of an iPhone does appear to deter many parents from providing them to their kids!

What do you think? Is the iPhone losing the coolness factor with the younger generation?

[GeekWire via 9to5Mac]

 

 

 

chrisoldroyd

UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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There are 100 comments. Add yours.

Nick Potts says:

It is not the same in Australia. I go to a private school on the Gold Coast, not one of the best but certainly not one of the worst. The predominate phone is the iPhone, with probably about 3/5th of the students owning one. The rest are mostly your average 99 dollar phone with the occasional HTC or Samsung thrown in.

Ivan Bruel says:

I wouldn't trust a 12 year old with an iPhone really, what a waste of money, they might have blackberrys and htc and chinese phones because they are cheap, and it isn't a big deal if they're stolen. It has nothing to do with cool effect or not (I doubt any 12 year old wouldn't want an iPhone, my sister keeps asking me for mine and I let her do her thing but only in a very controled environment.), also, HTC's inovation has been really dissapointing in the last year.

Jeanp369 says:

HTC use to be the best android now their are bad look at the thunderbolt wat a disappointment SMH. After I had the Thunderbolt and was disgusting by it I went to IPhone wat a huge different

Chris says:

Thunderbolt is like a year old...

Rjmjr72 says:

Everywhere I see on georgia campus , my sales account I see students and professors carrying the iPhone. It's still the best true all in one device on the market

Mike Flat says:

I have a doubt on the acting president of HTC. Whether he is not having the hard facts or he simply said this on analyzing just 5-10 people. iPhone is the best in it's category and no other can beat this in any condition, only can compete with it.

Brian says:

Chris, I wouldn't be surprised if the reason a lot of the younger kids at your daughter's school have Blackberrys is because they are hand me downs from their parents previous cell phone contract. That is, before they upgraded to iPhone or Android.

Derek Land says:

He puts these other companies in the same category of innovation as Apple - which may, to a limited extent, be true. However, I'd put more sock in what he said if (a) he could attach some measurable facts or statistics to what he says, instead of just giving his personal viewpoint; and (b) he'd admit HTC et al are coming from behind in the smartphone market, not act as if they've been at the bleeding edge the whole time.
HTC does some great things with mobile devices, it's just not as "innovative" as some claim.

Bedchr says:

Apples innovating is the reason HTC is still alive.

Jaffa374 says:

Sounds to me like a desperate attempt to smear apple to get themselves some sales.

Jpf22467 says:

not surprising. If you put a back cover on your iphone, you cant tell the difference between the latest and the original. For an 18 yr old college student, they dont want to be walking around with a phone that looks like it is from 2007.
Hopefully, Apple will make the screen bigger, remove the home button or something else to make it a little different then the last 5.
Disappointing news yesterday to hear the next iphone will look just like the current one.

Chris says:

I hope its not true. I'm still thinking of making the switch. I just hope that rumor was created by someone who wants the same design rather then it being "true" - if you know what I mean -

mkohut says:

This is such and obvious ploy to bad mouth apple, and elevate HTC. He can not go to any statistics, because there is none on coolness. so it is safe for him to say without getting sued. So now others run this article and he hopes it gets momentum. But it won't. This is just so obviously not true.

Bryan says:

I go to college and I saw more iPhones than android devices.

James says:

You may hate what this guy wrote but I agree to a point. The iPhone used to be "cool" because of its exclusivity, now they are ten a penny and that's what I hate. I used to love the fact the iPhone looked so good and very few people seemed to have 1 but nowadays everyone does, the worst being children, whcih could in no way afford an iPhone 4 unless they were spoilt .. To me that is what I hate most about my iphone now, what hard working individula wants to spend hundreds on a new iPhone only to be sat on the bus with a dozen 13 year olds all playing with theirs (if you pardon the expression lol)

TheAndroid1 says:

You should be happy you see so many. Those parents are buying their spoiled kids expensive apps and making sure the developers have the money to stay. You get more, higher quality apps.

GetALife says:

first of all why would you buy an expensive phone i.e iPhone to a 12-14 year old child? You would normally buy an iPod touch (cheap second hand 8GB) for them to play their games or listen to music.
children don't need phones and if you happen to buy one it should be some crappy nokia, something cheap.

Chris says:

I didn't get my first phone till I was 17 and had my first job. Now kids are getting phones as young as 10.

Majed says:

My niece's school has the Blackberry trend. She is in a British private school in Spain. She made a statistical report on students phones.
I agree with the cost and the texting messaging. though, I add one more important element. The influential students' choices.
Cool guys and cool girls spread their choice among thier friends and it becomes a trend. Therefore, we would see a school with dominant Blackberry and another school with dominant iPhone.

Chris says:

Well thats it right there. British kids love blackberries. Not sure why.

Gquaglia says:

He's right. The iPhone is as exciting as a ham sandwich. Others are innovating, Apple is riding the hype.

fastlane says:

"As for twelve year olds, the preference for Blackberries make sense, because these kids mostly want to text."

The iPhone can text. See instructions manual.

hoonaynay says:

The point was that Blackberry devices have actual keypads you simpleton.

cubanhoya says:

Did you learn a new word today? You sound like an idiot attacking two different people with the derogatory term.

fastlane says:

The iPhone has an actual keypad. See instructions manual.

Chris says:

Really. Show us it. I can't seen to find it. Is it part of those black seems on the side of the phone?

Dr Jack says:

Great reply fastlane!! I'm with you on that one!

Dr Jack says:

I just finished printing the whole instructions manual for the iPhone...would you like me to post it for the ones who don't understand your comment?!! Eh eh

hoonaynay says:

The point that he's making is that Blackberry devices have physical keypads thus making them more desirable to adolescents who value texting over web browsing you simpleton. I bet you were really proud after you typed that wise ass comment of yours weren't you?

pittsy says:

Apart from the physical keyboard, I would imagine BBM and its features being the method of choice instead of SMS.

tqmcguire says:

Exactly. Like sending pictures of genitalia as Crackberry Kevin pointed out on Mobile Nations. :) Full Disclosure: I currently use a BlackBerry and do not BBM pictures of my genitalia.

bmrdave says:

Remember, with a physical keyboard you can text under the desk without having to look while you're typing. Just quick glances at the replies :)

Orion2021 says:

You can type single handed without looking on the IPhone. My wife and I were sitting on the couch awhile back, I glanced over and she was watching the movie while typing away on her iPhone without looking. I am not so talented however.:)

fastlane says:

Martin who?

"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..."

Did you also ask them if they knew what HTC was? Try it and watch the puzzled stares you receive, nimrod.

Pjust says:

I dare you to find a satisfied htc customer. They will be VERY hard to find. Me and 6 of my collegues just Got htc wildfire phones 1 month ago and we still throw Them in frustration. Settings are impossible to change and functionallity is terrible.

taharka says:

I'm a satisfied htc customer. I'm also a satisfied Apple customer. I know lots of people that are satisfied with both companies.

Chris says:

I own a HTC EVO 3D and I'm satisfied. The problem between you and the "very hard to find customers" is that you got a low end phone. Simple as that.
Settings are better then the iPhone. At least you can change stuff.

Go Home To Your Mama Boy says:

You're a fucking retard. Your arguments don't make any sense at all.

Jumbos says:

Keep in mind that iphones are made for non tech people. They are for people that dont want to think about how to use something. Therefore, they have little interest in customizing

Patrick Sweeney says:

Have you seen it? The 3D effect is pretty stunning. I mean worthless, but still visually stunning.

Rolf says:

Are you Pat Sweeney from Eldersburg, MD?

johncblandii says:

Yeah, the 3D is pretty sweet. I like the 3D games/videos mostly.

Chris says:

Its a Gimmick no doubt but a pretty sweet feature.

spanishcop says:

I find this article funny. I think #1 numbers speak for themselves. I have seen at my department more and more people switching from other devices to iPhones. I like to stay unto date with devices and go into stores to check out the latest phones. My son enjoys going with me and doing the same. I personally since the iPhone 3G which was my first iOS device, I have not considered buying anything different.
Now putting aside that I enjoy my iphone, I do believe that once you invest in a iPhone, it is harder to give it up. You end up spending quite a bit of money on Apps and hate the thought of having to repurchase those games or software for yet another device. I think people find themselves more inclined to purchase another device that will use existing apps.
Cost does play a factor as I have seen quite a few people I know purchase other cheaper devices because the iPhone was too expensive. They didn't want to purchase an older iPhone "that's not cool" as HTC would say..... Most people enjoy the latest technology. I have even heard the comments this is as close as I can get to an iPhone for now.
This brings me to one other point. If apple does release an iPhone 5, if they are smart they will release two iPhone 5 devices. 2 phones with similar names. 2 phones that will do the latest things. 2 iPhones for different markets. The low cost iPhone doesn't have to be the fastest and for all I know it "can be an iPhone 4 in a iPhone 5 shell". Matter of fact my iPhone 4 still meets and exceeds my demands. I just think people that purchase the lower end cost will feel better saying "I too have an iphone-5". I got the lite version, I didn't need some of the extra added whistles that the elite has or what ever.
Regardless..... iPhones have NOT dropped in popularity nor in "coolness". I see more friends and family buying them each day.

Chris says:

I'm sort of stuck like that on my EVO 3D. I just love that UI but not so much the battery life. (It has better battery life then my old EVO 4G thats for sure) and the app market is a but stale..

Flintchesthair says:

I think that "cool" when it comes to teenagers is the same as current. I think it is more accurate to say that the year old iPhone 4 is losing it's cool factor. When the next installment releases I bet the sales will tell you just how cool the iPhone is.

dloveprod says:

The iPhone is more about ease of use and function than exciting new cutting edge features and customization. So I kinda see where they are coming from. This just made me feel kinda old.

Chris says:

You are right. But Apple has always been that way. Try to find an easy way to change the gray on OSX. On Windows you can install pretty much any skin with a few minor tweaks to the system. On Windows 7 all you need to install is UXstyle and you are set.

fastlane says:

Apple doesn't want people without any style, class, or basic design skills, trashing up iOS and making Apple devices look ghetto.

johncblandii says:

Someone get a doggy bag ready for some claim chowder. Numbers don't lie.

flyybaa says:

I really dont get whats so "cool" about htc phones.. Kickstands ? Widgets ? Hugeness ? (if thats even a word) WHO CARES ? Im a college student and i have an iphone 4 & I swore that i will never get another slow virus prone android phone.. They are garbage !

Chris says:

Did you get a cheep android phone? Because my EVO 3D is fast. You just got to watch what you download. Read the reviews etc.
Kickstands - Sort of a gimmik but great to watch movies on a plane
Widgets - Great one touch access to your content. I have a calandar widget on one of my home screens showing my work schedule. i dont need to go in to the calendar app and tap each day to see when I work. Its all right there. All at a glance.
Hugeness - There is a point where a phone can be too big but i'd take a 4.3" phone over a puny 3.5" any day. but people have diferent tastes and thats fine.

Jhoopa says:

I'm a college student in Iowa I own an iPhone 4. Been an iPhone user since the 3G came out. I see more iPhones on campus than any other phone. I play college basketball and most kids use their refund checks to get iPhones not HTCs

OMFGitsJUSTIN says:

I see more ipads, iphones, and ipods on my campus compared to anything else. IDK what this man is saying but I call BULL.

Chris says:

maybe on YOUR campus, but hey, there is more then one college in the world.

Hrunga Zmuda says:

The way RIM is going these days - their newest phone can't do email or calendars - they're pretty much irrelevant. But they are great for texting.
The problem with the HTC president's experience is, nobody is going to show the president of HTC that they have a competing product.
Now Reed College is interesting. That's where Steve Jobs sort of attended college. He's not really a drop out, he just talked his way into attending a lot of classes without paying tuition, to save his parents' money, because they could not afford the tuition. Reed is a top college, sort of counter-culture in some ways. I sort of wished I had attended there. But it was way too expensive. I wonder about the student body's choice of phones. Could it be the counter-culture attitude there would lead to more Android use?

Dev says:

Does anybody really expect a head of HTC to say anything differently?
He does have one point, though -- a core of adolescents do not want to use the same things as their parents. When their parents all had Blackberries, the teens wanted iPhones. Now that their parents have iPhones, those teens will want...something else. As many people in these pages insist, the iPhone is the phone "for the rest of us" and has an experience "even my (grand)mother can use." That may be true, but that is exactly what makes it less "cool" to that crowd.
Obviously, that has not made even the slightest dent in the sales numbers; maybe it is irrelevant in the cel phone market. However, if you define "coolness" as "something that appeals to the young and hip," the iPhone has lost a teeny bit of coolness simply because old farts like me use them so often.

TheAndroid1 says:

People use facebook even though their parents use it. I don't really know if the whole parents use it makes teens want it any less.

veegee1 says:

in my personal opinion I do not think that it is not because the iphone is not "cool" anymore with the college crowd, I think if there really is a problem with that perception it's because up until earlier this year, iphone has been way too restrictive as to how it markets itself with just two carriers (one up till just recently). Not everyone who goes to college is rich and iphone is marketed to be an expensive phone to own and operate - expensive carriers, expensive plans and paid apps. I personally do not like android, but you can't discount the fact that android is EVERYWHERE, even on pre-paid and most apps are free. can this be the reason as to why iphone is not so poplular among the younger crowd. Sure, come out with an iphone 5, but why not let the 3gs or even 4 on EVERY CARRIER, even pre-paid? Apple is it's own worst enemy when it comes to being way too proprietary.

Billy says:

Idiot.... just jealous... everyone knows that HTC is crap, BlackBerry is just slow crap, and Samsung Phones suck.... iPhones are still king and its proven because everyone tries to copy Apple for cheaper and they come out with cheaper CRAP... iPhone is the ONLY way to go... good quality phone and it does everything! including texting LOL Cheap asses just make excuses to buy another phone to make themselves feel better, deep down they know they want an iPhone.... simple as that!

Craig16 says:

Written like a true "Fanboy".

Chris says:

and people wonder why Apple users get their name...

Mattweimer says:

I sell cellphones 5 days a week. 1 out of every 2 phones I sell is an iPhone 4. When the iPhone 5 comes out I will either sell the iPhone 4 or the iPhone 5. That is a about it. Not just older people or younger people, everyone.

Billy says:

Idiot... everyone knows that iPhone is king... and yes it even does texting... all other phones are crap... you pay for what you get people... you go cheap you get cheap...

FlopTech says:

And just exactly why is HTC talking about "coolness"? Because it's impossible to measure. So Mr. Fichter can say anything he wants and nobody can call bullish!t on him with numbers to prove him wrong.
I wonder if he thinks iPad is "cool"...

johncblandii says:

I rarely see iPhones [mostly Android and cheap phones] but it doesn't matter what we see. That's not a good metric to use at all.

Chris says:

I'm seeing more smart phones period. I rarely see a flip phone anymore

johncblandii says:

It was like that for a while but lately I've seen more flip/common phones.

KJ says:

I think the Iphone right now is a big winner because of its reliability. I've used BB, Android, and now Iphone. Yes...sometimes the Iphone can't be customized beyond belief like an android...but the reality is, I've never had to wipe my phone. I never have to do a battery pull, like with BB. I've seen a lot of ppl who have been strong android advocates switching to Iphone, simply because they are tired of resetting their android devices every few months.
I also find it interesting that both HTC and Samsung have made phones particularily similar to the Iphone. How is that being innovative? That's no different than saying Apple is trying to ride the wave; its clear HTC and Samsung are trying to ride that wave too. Look no further than the HTC Incredible and Samsung Fascinate. Same form factor, center key, etc as the Iphone.

Oxirane says:

As to your examples,
The Fascinate: http://cdn.androidcentral.com/sites/androidcentral.com/files/postimages/...
The Droid Incredible: http://www.eurodroid.com/pics/htcincrediblepress_shot-2.jpg
Yeah, the DInc has a trackball, which I assume is the "center key" you refer to, but I don't see it on the Fascinate. For form factor... it's a rectangle with a touchscreen. Apple wasn't the first to come up with that. The smartphone idea? I believe that was Palm.
And if nothing else, Apple needs to call it quits with their suing over being copied when they copy so heavily from the competition. Look no further than the drop-down notification bar in iOS5, for one.

KJ says:

You may be right on some levels, but going back to the original comments from HTC regarding Apple being uncool. HTC makes phones primarily...they don't make the OS. So HTC is trying to say that Apple is always the same, nothing changes, etc. To a certain point, that would be accurate.
But why should HTC be the ones to judge the cool factor considering a majority of their phones share very similar appearance factor? Furthermore, HTC doesn't even make their own OS to fully support a phone. So why should HTC even be allowed to comment on a smartphone's OS platform? It could be argued that all android phones are the same, with a different look to some of the phones.

Alex says:

Yep, in San Marcos, TX at Texas State University it's actually difficult to find a college student who doesn't own an iPhone.

TonyPatron says:

Delicate nature? My daughter has broken 2 BBs and an HTC. One BB was crushed and she broke the mini-USB ports on the BB and the HTC. She managed yo crack the screen on the original iPhone I gave her, but It. stilled worked fine. My mom had a Samsung POS she had to trade in twice. I eventually replaced that with another of my hand me down iPhone 3G after I jailbroke it and she loves it.

James says:

You're missing the point, back in the day when Nokia were king and i'm talking ten years ago here, they used to have a Titanium phone and it was the best money could buy, that's what gave it its exclusivity .. the iPhone had this to start with but now every1 has 1 and they are just common, maybe you like having the same phone that every other Tom, Dick or Harry has but I don't. Let me ask you a question, would you find it as appealing if you were walking down the street and every1 had the same top on as you ??
That is why when people have the discussion about should Apple bring out a budget for phone, personally I say no, Apple is about quality and imo and i'm sure plenty of other peoples, it would tarnish the brand .. I associate Apple products with quality not with cheapness.

Chris says:

Apple needs to step it up on features and a new form factor rather then creater a budget model.
but nI fail to see how it will tarnish the brand. Its not like android here. Apple is already at the top.

Daniel We says:

not surprising, although I consider changing sides again for iPhone5 (read iOS5) as an webOS enthusiast (I know you love to read that :-P) word is in my social environment that "every retard has an iPhone" but what should I do? Androids with 4.3" and 2 weeks life-cycle before the next hero appears? No!

roseventyfour says:

Just because something is cheap doesn't make it cool it just means it's cheaply made to justify the price. This is the standard for Android. And mainly seeing as kids don't have money I don't think none of this matters anyway. When iPhones come out the only dissapointment is the people that can't find one on the first day. Unlike Android users who stay pissed for the life of their 2 year contract.

Oxirane says:

Eh... I'd say iPhone "coolness" is split- not evenly, but very well defined.
One scenario is the people who have/want one and swear it's the best and Blackberry/Android/WP7/Palm are all inferior (I've had people go as far as to apologize that I use a Samsung Vibrant). I'd say they're the majority.
Another scenario is the people who think the iPhone is overpriced and inferior (sorry TiPB, I'm in this group). These people are more often Engineering/Physics/Math/Business majors, and the first three groups prefer Android/WP7/Palm and the Business majors seem to all like blackberries.
This all from a current sophomore in college. If I had to guess, I'd say ~60% of students at my school have an iPhone, and of that group most of them aren't even aware of the alternatives. The other 40% is likely 20% Blackberry, then mostly "dumbphones" with a sprinkling of other smartphone OS's.
In conclusion, my school has a love/hate relationship with Apple. There's a lot of Macbook Pros and a lot of iPhone 3GSs/4s, and the other chunk of the school often hates Apple products.

Johna says:

As a recent engineering grad, I'll have to agree with your number, though the number of people who have iphones increase with year. I think the reason is that when you grow up, you have actual work to do and that it's no longer 'cool' to have to work on your phone to get it to do what you want it to. To me, a phone has very different design requirements than a computer. A PC should be flexible and able to perform any computing task without much effort. A phone, however, should work every time you pull it out of your pocket and do it quickly.
The iphone is the superior product for most people today with all things considered (battery life, security, ease of use, reliability, customer support, value retention). It's silly in my mind to not pick the superior product based on a perceived 'coolness' factor, especially since most people use their phone quite often.

Bluecanary says:

I'm 16. And I hate Androids.

Chris says:

Thats nice. No one really cares

Chris says:

He may have a point. Besides the app store the iPhone in its current state is behind that of Android. But I don't think "coolness" has anything to do with it. most teens dont really give a rats ass about the type of phone. They just want one so they can get on facebook and text their friends, post photos and change the privacy settings so their parents won't know about that wild night they had last night when they said they were "studying" at jimmy's house.

Chris says:

At the start it was cool but its just falling behind now. Mostly due to jobs and his hate for new things.

Chris says:

So wait. You make friends based on the kind of phone they have?

Chris says:

so they should go out and put out a phone like Steve Balmer on stage? I own the EVO 3D and its pretty good. Tested the 3D images and video and it works out great.
Perhaps you should actully use the product before you decide to bash it?

APPLELOVE says:

I LOVE IPHONE BUT IM AGREE, ITS LIKE MP3 IS THE BEST MUSIC PLAYER.
MY BROTHER GOT DROID BIONIC AND IPHONE SUCKS COMPARED TO THAT PHONE

barbs says:

My 14 year old high school freshman who sends 10,000 text per month freaked out when I gave her my wifes old 3g when I upgraded her to the 4. The vsdt majority of kids high school through college want the iPhone. Parents just may not want to spend the money. My kid previously had an HTC Aria that I got for $.98 at Walmart

Clara says:

@Applelove Sincerely, im agree apple isnt the only company that can make the best technology
and yeah bionic looks so amazing!

PhillyBoy says:

wow really?? because on my college campus all i see are iphones

Chris says:

Yep. I pick my friends on a lot more then the phone they have,

Alo says:

Blackberries are what you use when saving up to buy the iPhone. It's the gateway phone.

Jimmy Logan says:

Want to sell your HTC and get a new one? Visit SellArena.com to sell your phones and HTCs for cash! High Payout and Free shipping for all customers.

Zoem684 says:

iPhone is still the coolest in my book. and i think MANY others agree as well. I haven't seen any decline in iPhone use and i certainly haven't heard anyone say it isn't "cool"

Rylan Carpena says:

This is probably just a practicality move on the parents' part. iPhones are expensive so why would anyone just have them.

Jcons15 says:

are u for real everone would have an iphone if they could afford.

androidftw says:

I just watched this sick video on my 3VO - I would send you the link but its flash.... let me see if I can find it in HTML5

johncblandii says:

It isn't to satisfy a market need for low-end phones? /sarcasm

johncblandii says:

Yep, my mother-n-law had it. :)