A few years ago, I coined the phrase “anti-Apple militia” to describe the disjointed and incoherent group of SAI commenters that were not happy with Apple’s growing success. As Apple’s increasing dominance became clearer, the anti-Apple militia would desperately think of a new plan of attack, often shifting themes within weeks. Some of my favorites were:
1) iPhone 3GS will flop because it looks just like iPhone 3G.
2) Palm Pre will crush the iPhone.
3) People don’t want a curated Apple App Store.
4) Android will crush Apple in the U.S.
5) iPad will flop because it’s just an oversized iPhone.
6) No one is buying iPhone 4 because of Antennagate.
7) No one is buying iPhone 4S because it looks like an iPhone 4.
8) No one is buying iPhone 5 because of Maps.
Recently, I’ve seen the anti-Apple militia shift tactics and instead of attacking a specific iPhone or iPad feature, the detractors are going after the intangible; Apple’s popularity and coolness. Many anti-Apple comments are falling under the same genres, including:
“My daughter says all of her classmates are switching to Samsung and Windows phones. iPhones just aren’t cool anymore.”
“Has anyone gone to an Apple store lately? They are empty and the only people I see are older folks. Meanwhile, Microsoft stores are packed with kids. So crowded.”
“I was at the market yesterday, and some kid came up to me and couldn’t stop asking about my kick-ass Samsung phone. Youth just aren’t interested in the Phone anymore.”
I think one of the main catalysts for this new attack campaign was Samsung’s ads that mocked people waiting in-line for the iPhone 5, including the scene of a son holding a spot in line for his parents. Samsung is going after one of Apple’s largest competitive advantages: it’s coolness. I look at these shifting attack tactics as desperation. If using the battlefield analogy, Samsung and the anti-Apple militia are firing all remaining ammunition in the general direction of the enemy hoping something will stop the advance.
1) Kids can’t get enough of iPhones and iPads (literally - parents are often not willing to buy new iPhones for their children until at least 8-9th grade).
2) College students continue to embrace Apple products at an alarming rate.
3) Apple stores are more packed now than ever, with some complaining about how loud the stores have become. Will the anti-Apple militia soon proclaim “no one goes to Apple stores because they’re too loud”?
4) Despite much broader product roll-outs, including massive pre-order allotments, people are still lining up for new Apple products.
Apple competitors see the writing on the wall. Not only is Apple continuing to broaden its reach across the world, including advances into enterprise and education, but it’s coolness factor is actually expanding. As for the surveys and guesstimates showing Apple’s market share is getting trounced in China and markets where Apple has a weaker presence; a true battle is one where both sides are present.