I've gone over to the dark side.
That's what one of my friends calls it when someone chucks their old-school cell phone and moves into the world of smart phones. However, my dark side is brightened by the fact that it's not inhabited by Crackberries, but rather by the imminently cooler iPhone. And in iPhone-Land, it's not about the email, web browsing or the texting. It's all about the apps.
First, let's talk demographics. When the iPhone first came out a little less than two years ago - the people most likely to lust after it were men. To be more specific, affluent men aged 18 to 34. (This was pre-recession, remember....). In fact, many a man was literally frenzied over being the first of his kind to own an iPhone, as this 2007 Time Magazine article illustrates.
Fast forward two years, and you'll find that women are increasingly drawn to the sleek design and intuitive platform that makes iPhone so fun to use. Although no specific gender data is available, Internet traffic researcher Quantcast reports that as of last month -- nearly as many women as men visited buyiphone.apple.com, and that the vast majority of those interested in the iPhone have kids in the house, many of them teenagers.
With Apple reaching a saturation point for iPod and iTunes usage by teens according to Piper Jaffray's 17th semi-annual teen survey ("86 percent of students who own an MP3 player indicated that they own an iPod") - Apple is going to turn its laser vision on turning the iPhone into the next must-have device for the sullen set. As AppleInsider reports, the cost of the iPhone's AT&T plan has prevented many parents from investing in an iPhone for their teenager. But Apple is expected "to address this issue in the coming months, with a family of iPhone models including a high end model with current plan pricing and possibly a low-end model with fewer features and lower-cost monthly data plans."
Then it's "Catie bar the door!" Once the kids get an iPhone -- you KNOW that mom is right behind.
Which brings us to the app explosion (see "Apple's Apps Store Nears One Billion Served" in NYTimes), which you are seeing now in commercials and which are seemingly aimed primarily at men and boys ("Top Ten iPhone Apps" in Wired).
However, when the average iPhone user starts looking more like me and my kids - you will start seeing the apps change as well. Less iShoots and Tap Tap Revenges, and more useful things like nutrition guides, calorie counters, grocery price comparisons and weather forecasts. In fact, according to MediaPost's Online News Daily, it may already be happening.
Women, and specifically women who are moms with kids in the house, remain the most powerful consumer group on the planet. As a new iPhone user and a member of this power elite -- I'm curious what Apple and all its App-lets will create to keep iHappy.