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Android slowly siphoning Apple's coolness among students

While students are a key audience for Apple, telltale signs show a gradual shift towards the Android operating system and its mobile devices.
January 30, 2013
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Students are a key audience for both the Apple and the Android camp. That is why Apple uses its traditional tactic to get students hooked to its products – offering annual discounts, especially for freshmen who are entering new territory. While these young minds used to go totally gaga over Cupertino’s premium gadgets, telltale signs show a gradual shift towards the increasingly popular Google-backed operating system and its mobile devices.

In separate interviews conducted by USA Today reporters Kenneth Rosen and Scott Martin, students and notable figures from academic institutions all over U.S. relay varying opinions, indicating that the iPhone no longer has its leading edge over Android competitors. For instance, University of California-Berkeley professor Richard Sloan states that, “my students are making me think that when the iPhone 6 comes out there’s going to be a lot less excitement.”

Naturally, others don’t feel the same way. iPhone 4S user Alex Cook still deems the iPhones to be used in great numbers at his academe, Georgia Southern University. Likewise, TeensTalkTech founder Eli Blumental says that “the iPhone is still on most teens’ lists for their next phone.” He is currently a student at The City University of New York.

But numbers don’t lie. USA Today has availed Survey Monkey to conduct a survey to American consumers, more than half of which are aged between 18 and 44. The result shows that 79% of opinions show a change in perception, that Android products have become “much cooler” these days. Furthermore, an August report by consumer research group Nielsen shows that slightly more than half of consumers across the country have bought an Android device last summer. Apple is now increasingly finding it difficult to differentiate its products and reach uber-coolness status, since most smartphones have adopted the same touchscreen form factor.

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And just as with any product that has undergone many reiterations, despite all the enhancements in so many aspects, consumers inevitably suffer from the so-called “iPhone fatigue.” The lack of genuine innovation and spanking new features causes Apple’s smartphone to lose its forever fresh appeal. In other words, returning iPhone buyers are appreciating its device less and less, given that newer models are essentially offering the same features at their core. It’s one reason why many feel the need to change.

Currently, the iPhone and its iOS store enjoys one of the healthiest app ecosystems. However, it is an advantage Apple can no longer tout since the competing Google Play Store has just as much activity in its selection. With 700,000 apps available as of November, consumers no longer have good reason to shy away from Android when it comes to available and affordable choices of apps.

Yet another interesting thing to point out is the fact that students, and perhaps every American for this matter, prefer to support a fledgling company trying to beat the establishment. Apple used to be like that, when it previously challenged IBM and when it was underwhelmed by Microsoft and its Windows operating system. Not anymore.

Apple may have not totally lost its grasp among students, but its interest among students now involves simultaneous adoration and aversion.