By Laura Smith, Nov. 3, 2009 for The Pendulum
At the end of October, profits from the Apple company rose 47 percent thanks to iPhone sales alone.
According to Apple, 7.4 million iPhones were sold in its fiscal fourth quarter, a number up 7 percent from the previous year because of a price drop and a new version released in June. At the same time, sales in Mac computers rose 17 percent, selling 3.05 million last year alone.
Elon University marketing professor Shimon Shmueli said this popularity could be the result of effective branding.
“The brand image that they are enjoying today, to a large extent, is the result of a past that was less than a great success and is not of their own making,” Shmueli said. “However, they are doing an excellent job in nurturing that image. Now, that image would not be sustainable if it were not backed by superb and consistent renewal in the areas of design, innovation, product introductions, retail experience and real value to users.”
Senior Kristen Clements purchased her iPhone during the summer of 2008.
“I wanted one mainly because I could check my e-mail on it, but also because of all of the different applications that can be downloaded,” Clements said. “The GPS has also been helpful in many situations.”
But Apple does have its share of competitors. When it comes to phones, the Blackberry is no longer just the device of choice for businessmen. Now, college students and housewives can be seen “BBMing” or checking their Facebook profiles on the hand-held device.
“(The) iPhone has a lot more to offer than the Blackberry,” Clements said. “The Blackberry doesn’t have anywhere near the same amount of storage space as an iPhone does. You can’t store thousands of songs on your Blackberry. The newest iPhone has the best camera, video and audio quality.”
Sophomore Quinlan Bergh said she feels the same way about her iPhone.
“There’s more organization than any other phone,” she said. “I also have applications like Yellow Pages, Facebook and Google. Safari is also offered on the iPhone, and I get 3G access from pretty much everywhere.”
But not all Elon students have hopped on the iPhone train. According to a voluntary, non-scientific survey conducted by The Pendulum Oct. 29 to Nov. 1, more Elon students own Blackberries than iPhones.
Fourteen percent chose a Blackberry for its Internet capabilities, compared to 9 percent for iPhone’s Internet features. But 3 percent chose an iPhone simply for trend compared to a Blackberry, which no one chose based on trend.
Technology rivalries also go beyond the cellular phone. When it comes to personal computers, the Apple company competes on a similar level as those companies that sell PCs, such as Dell and Toshiba.
According to Fred Melchor, director of technology support, Elon students use Macs as much as they do PCs.
“I know that roughly half of student computers (43 percent) connected to our network are Apple products,” Melchor said. “Also, I know that the last two freshman classes requested Microsoft Office for the Mac as much as they did Office for the PC. Using these two pieces of information, I believe that our students are equally divided between PC and Mac.”
Sophomore Brooke Dyson doesn’t follow the Apple trend. She said she bought a Toshiba personal computer for its features and design.
“There are so many reasons I think my computer is better than a Mac,” she said. “You have to re-format every program to make it compatible with a Mac, and I feel that it is a waste of time. A Mac would not do anything for me. It’s twice as expensive as the computer I own now and I didn’t have to do anything special to get programs to work.”
According to the students who took The Pendulum survey, 63 percent of students own Macs, and 90.8 percent of those who do chose them strictly because of the features they offer.
Those who own PCs (46.4 percent), chose a PC for the lower price. If given the choice, 63 percent of students would choose an iPhone instead of a Blackberry and 82 percent would choose a Mac instead of a PC.
Shmueli said despite Apple’s success, there will continue to be competition between companies.
“Microsoft, for a variety of reasons, has a lock on the market, so it will continue to be a challenge for Apple to continue to gain market share, especially now that Windows 7 is getting good reviews,” Shmueli said. “It learned some good lessons from Apple.”