Has Apple become too popular to be popular? The dilemma as the teen market shuns the Mac

by Jeremy Miles

I’ve been a Mac man since the 1980s. As someone who works daily with words and pictures the beautiful design and rock-solid functionality of their products is unbeatable.

It wasn’t always like that of course but for me Apple Mac always had the edge. Even my very first mac computer – which looked like a lumpen beige box and had a tiny amount of memory – was streets ahead of the opposition.

Somehow the Mac engineers just knew that function was nothing without design and reliability. So while other companies strived to make things faster and cheaper, Apple decided to do it properly. Against all odds it worked and surprising number of people like me were prepared pay over the odds for the product.

I never subscribed to the loopy battle that raged between Apple and Microsoft. In my opinion the Mac v PC argument was a pointless exercise. People should have the freedom to buy and use whatever equipment suits them. 

Likewise I didn’t view the late Steve Jobs as some kind of all-seeing guru. I found him a rather irritating character – a hippy turned Silicone Valley tycoon turned multi-billionaire control freak. He certainly oversaw some radical innovations at Apple but was probably more flawed as both a person and a businessman than the army of devotees and acolytes who hung on his every word would be prepared to admit. 

  Today I have a couple iMacs, an iBook, an iPhone, an iPad and even an old iPod. They’re my support system for a busy freelance business and now I learn that I am hopelessly adrift with the times.

 For according to Buzz Marketing, Apple simply isn’t cool anymore. The group who specialise in analysing youth marketing say that Millennial Kids are telling them that “Apple is done.” The company is simply too popular to be popular. Forget iPhones and iPads today’s teens are more excited by Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and Surface tablets like Microsoft’s MSFT.

 It’s an interesting dilemma. All brands that operate on the cutting edge of technology have their day. But until now Apple has shown an extraordinary ability to stay ahead of the game.

 But now the sector of the market that seems to be turning against them is actually the next generation of of their serious buyers. Worrying? Actually I think not. These young buyers are creating and following a trend. I’ll stick my neck out here and say that in a few years a sizeable proportion of that generation will be buying Macs just like their parents and er grandparents before them.  Yikes! Did I actually say that? Yes I did because, distressing as it sounds, the first generation of Mac buyers are indeed grandparents now and a not insignificant proportion of them are grandparents of teenagers.  At the other end of the scale my 84-year-old dad loves his iMac too.