US teen fury at Apple iPhone iPad gift no-show

By Jonny Evans

Please ignore Digitimes' fake claims of two new iPad models in January, there's plenty of better rumors, despite which this Christmas has been Apple [AAPL] and mobile, leaving a trail of angry teens incandescent with their parents for failing to get them an iPhone or iPad.

[ABOVE: A re-run, great photographer Annie Leibowitz confirms the iPhone is camera of choice as a recent NPD study reveals the percent of photos taken with a smartphone grew from 17 to 27 percent this year.]

Teenage kicks

Activations of new iOS and Android devices soared on Christmas Day, jumping by 142 per cent over the same day last year, Flurry said. Over three million iPhones were activated on that day.

It could have been higher. Many might say it should have been. Comedian Jon Hendren captured some of the unhappy Tweets from teenagers who didn't get an iPhone (or iPad).

What are the kids saying? "I swear, everybody got an iPhone 4S. I asked for one and I didn't get it. Santa, I hate you," wrote one. "Everyone got an iPad, I want to kill myself," and another: "No iPhone, I hate my dad."

We could enter into a seasonal discussion about how the so-called spiritual meaning of Christmas has been buried under self-centered consumerism, the admonishment that we should "love one another" replaced by that of "live to shop", but let's leave that discussion to our spiritual and political leaders.

Ask McDonalds and you'll know product loyalty is all about pester power. You need to educate tomorrow's consumers into loyalty to a brand. Apple's simple product philosophy -- to make good products -- is getting through to US teens, prompting record iPhone sales this season.

Mobile is the future

You might think Apple's products aren't good. Yes, perhaps they are supported by a walled garden of content; yes, perhaps users are (slightly) limited in what they can chose to install on their devices; sure, perhaps Apple sues Google because the two firms have opposing views as to the value of intellectual property in a digital age.

Stop for a second and think about it and I'm sure you'll recognize these concerns aren't widely held within the collective consciousness. Indeed, the arguments seem to emanate from second-tier device makers and former Flash developers. Disappointed people tearing up their betting slips after backing the wrong horse.

The meme matches the analysis. In November, Nielsen surveyed 3,000 kids aged 6- to 12-years old to reveal that this Christmas the cool kids wanted iPhones, iPads and an iPod touch more than they wanted any other electrical gadget.

The majority of 25-34 and 18-24 year olds now own smartphones (64% and 53% respectively) according to Nielsen. A recent NPD study reveals the percent of photos taken with a smartphone grew from 17 to 27 percent this year, while those taken on a real camera dropped from 52 percent to 44 percent.

In technology this year the meaning of Christmas has been mobile -- and Apple dominates the mobile space.

[ABOVE: Singer/songwriter Jonathan Mann then turned Hendren's retweets into a song within 48 hours (it includes some swearing, so don't listen if that might offend).]

The age of intelligent machines

Mobile isn't just about apps and smartphones either. Nor is it about televisions and tablets. It's also about location, occupation, segmentation and new opportunities for new business.

Next year, for example, you can expect LTE to beat WiMax, NFC to come of age with an Apple touch and a new wave of connected and intelligent machines (M2M), principally in the in-home and automative sectors.

In 2011, shipments of mobile devices exceeded those of PCs. IDC predicts that in 895 million mobile devices ($277 billion) will ship in comparison with under 400 million PCs ($257 billion) in 2012.

This confirms the value and importance of the mobile space will absolutely dwarf the PC industry in value, installation and reach. Not least because mobile broadband services can bring whole nations online in the absence of a fixed infrastructure.

These messages from angry teens confirm just how deep the mobile appeal pulls as Apple moves to ensure it keeps and consolidates a healthy segment of market share in this new mobile century.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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