Is Apple really no longer cool?

Davy Adams

Davy Adams is the Managing Director of IDG Australia, publisher of Computerworld and CIO.

Apple obsessives are all snippety this week after Steve Wozniak suggested that Apple should keep setting the standard with new devices or risk losing its “cool” factor, <i>Bloomberg</i> reported. “The Mac was always the cool guy,” he said in the interview with Bloomberg. “And ouch, it’s painful, because we kind of are losing that.”

The suggestion is that Wall Street just doesn’t understand the importance of the ecosystem Apple has created. But perhaps they do.

When the Mac was the preferred computing choice of a small elite – mainly graphic designers and advertising execs – it was easier to look to the users as a clever, aspirational group using their otherworldly platform. But now that the brand is ubiquitous, it’s no longer seen as ‘exclusive’ to a certain group of people as even your grandmother, and the kids, or anyone can have iPhones and iPads. So is it any wonder that white is no longer the new black?

In Computerworld’s 2013 State of the Mobile Enterprise Survey what wasn’t surprising was the high number of respondents (69 per cent) who used an Apple for work. What was surprising was the meteoric rise of Samsung (30 per cent). And when Computerworld polled respondents on intentions to purchase, a whopping 41 per cent included Samsung. Maybe the cloistered world of the Apple ecosystem will give buyers pause for thought when they finally reach the cash register. But, for most users, the million or so apps on Google Play should be enough to keep them going.

While the choice may be there, browsing statistics aren’t showing that there’s much of a shift away from Apple to date. PC World Australia has over 800,000 visits every month and almost a quarter of those are from mobile devices. Of those iPhones, iPads and yes, even iPods make up 60 per cent. Rewind back to a year ago and the number was… drumroll… also 60 per cent. Mark Twain summed it up well, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Forward expectations of earnings are what drive share prices. Cool factor and product differentiation are what drives the ability for a company to charge a price premium. So maybe Wall Street has it right with Apple shares down 36 per cent from a high of $702 in the space of less than six months.

But for the time being, cool or not, Apple still has the market well and truly sewn up.

Tags: mobile, Apple, samsung

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