November 30, 2006 3:24 PM PST

Apple: Cool enough for your granny

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Measuring the iPod effect

November 28, 2006
In its latest batch of ads, Apple Computer paints the Mac as the young, cool face of desktop computing. But research has found it's the silver surfers who have a yen for Cupertino's goods, while the kids are opting for cheap Windows machines.

According to a report from industry watchers MetaFacts, nearly half of Mac owners are 55 and older--almost double the share for average home PC users.

For the digital youth, high-street box shifter Gateway is the brand of choice, taking the No. 1 slot among PC buyers between ages 18 and 25.

"Apple can claim long-time loyalists, but its future among the young technoliterati is an interesting dynamic." Dan Ness, principal at MetaFacts, said in a statement.

Apple spokesman Bill Evans took issue with the statistics.

"Our customer data shows that only around 20 percent of Mac users are over the age of 55," he said. "The Mac is more popular than ever, and we are thrilled that our products appeal to people of age 1 to 100."

In past campaigns, Apple hoped to trade on the cachet and cool of the iPod to persuade Windows users to switch to Macs, explicitly marketing the device as coming from the people behind the iPod.

The Mac maker is also reportedly investigating the true nature of the so-called iPod halo effect, in which owning an iPod causes users to switch from PC to Mac. While the Mac's market share remains in single figures, Apple has said that it's seeing more first-time buyers picking up its kit.

The halo effect is given credence by MetaFacts' research, which reports that more than two-thirds of Macs in current use were bought since 2004. By comparison, when looking at all computers in current use, only half were bought since 2004. The iPod was first introduced in 2001.

The report did find Apple users are ahead of the curve in mobility, with a far higher percentage of users who prefer laptops to desktops. More than half of Apple households have laptops, compared to the 30 percent of computer users as a whole who use a notebook as their primary computer.

Jo Best reported for in London.

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Apple Computer, Apple iPod, Apple Macintosh, home PC, laptop computer


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Unreliable predictions
Ten years ago, Apple was marginal both in image and market share. Who would have said how successful it would have been 10 years later? This is to say that making predictions of the next future 10 years (and worst, 30 or 40 years) is plain stupid. Tech market is very volatile. For what matters I can say that by then 90% of computers will run Linux. It may be not true, but it is still equally possible.
Posted by feranick (212 comments )
Reply Link Flag
10 years out will the OS even be an issue? Think of the web; we NOW users of virtually all operating systems and hardware platforms "in the cloud"
Posted by rohndavis (1 comment )
Link Flag
Granny may like macs, but so do hackers
I can't speak to percentages, but it's obvious to anyone that has attended any security conferences (white, black, or gray) in the past few years that Macs are popular among the technical elite (or elite wannabes).

Mac laptops seem almost as popular at these events as Linux Thinkpads.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Youngsters like cheap, don't care about good yet
I mean, like, duh.
Posted by M C (598 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why pay more for something that accomplishes the same goal?
Yeah PC's are cheap. It doesn't mean that they aren't good. Water is cheap too and that doesn't mean that its worse for you than snapple or soda or coffee. They do everything just as well as macs. (This will be contested by both sides, but its a fact:macs have better creative suites, PCs have more games, and all modern computers are high-powered enough to run apps like ms/open office and other basic tasks.) So why would somebody want to pay more for the same result. Personally I like my right mouse button and scroll wheel too much and I really wouldn't want to pay an extra $100 or some other arm-and-leg price just for a mouse that would cost like $10 for a PC.
I will agree that the new apple laptops are very light and nice, but the same mouse issue applies.
Posted by shldvebnacwby (37 comments )
Link Flag
Windows users are stupid, Mac users are intelligent
That's the typical snob position of Apple fanboys.
I guess it's the frustration of having less than 5% of the market, lol.
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
Link Flag
Older people don't know any better
Older people don't know any better. Who else would buy a mac?
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is lingsun:

A) Idiot
B) Troll
C) Mentally disabled
D) All of the above
Posted by tedk7 (66 comments )
Link Flag
Who Else Would Buy A Mac
. . . I'll Tell You . . .

Those of us who make our living via PC's for programming,
design, video, multimedia and web development.

That's who would buy a Mac. And for very good reasons. . .

. . . but then again most folks making general comments like
yours probably would not understand or have the experience to
appreciate what I have just said.
Posted by dansterpower (2511 comments )
Link Flag
Nice try!
Older people don't know better. Nice! You're referring to my
"older people" clients, I assume? You know, my "older people"
airline pilot customers? They're pretty slow, and they're
obviously too dense to handle a Dell. Or perhaps the "older
people" research scientists with more degrees than you've
fingers and toes? Wait! I bet you're referring to the University
heads whose computers my company installs and maintains!
Oooh, and while you're at it, why not tell me that the "older
people" in the IT dept with Macs don't know any better, too!
I'd tell you to quit while you're ahead, except that you're so far
behind, you've been lapped around the track.
Posted by GGGlen (491 comments )
Link Flag
Gave my grandfather a mac
Let's see - gave my grandfather an xp laptop. Got destroyed by spyware within a week. Got him an imac. No more problems. See my blog for the whole story. <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by azaltsman (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
D. All of the above.
Posted by kadad (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
D. All of the above.
Posted by kadad (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why do you think you can't use the cheap mouse on the Mac?
Posted by markusfarkus (96 comments )
Reply Link Flag
PC's are for those who are not afraid of TECH
I am not afraid of technology, so I don't need a MAC. I custom build my boxes, run Windows XP, and I don't have a problem with spyware or viruses, you just have to be smart about it. If someone would give me a MAC, I would mainly run Windows on it, after all, all of my expensive software are windows based.
Posted by Vaasman (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm not afraid of TECH too
But I'm a Mac user since 1991. I don't need to know how to build
custom boxes, as a matter of fact I don't want to! I'm very
comfortable with TECH, I love TECH and I work with TECH. Software
is TECH, isn't it? Developing solutions made from FileMaker Pro
Advanced or other developing tools is TECH also, isn't it? Or, as I
don't use Windows to accomplish that job, this is less TECH?

Please, make yourself a little survey on the net and sure you'll find
lots of TECH made on Macs.
Posted by pfelix (5 comments )
Link Flag
That is Rubbish
I am not afraid of Tech -- Infact I spend 12 hours a day in it, 6
days a week.

I use Windows, Linux, etc. I build Boxes. I write Code. I design.
I edit Video. I program and create in Flash.

I do it all on a Mac by choice. I build windows boxes for other

I am not afraid or uninformed about technology and I choose
Posted by dansterpower (2511 comments )
Link Flag
Question the conclusion?
Funny.. you gather some data, it shows an older gen using Mac's out of proportion with the PC population, so obviously, as quoted by Dan Ness, principal at MetaFacts...

"Apple can claim long-time loyalists, but its future among the young technoliterati is an interesting dynamic."

Long time loyalists? While the statement may be true in general, what does it have to do with age data? I have to question the conclusion..

I'll admit, I haven't the data either.. but keep in mind that the 55 and older gen didn't grow up with computers like the younger gen's. Many have steered away from them because they're almost like "black magic". But, the younger gen's aften help them take that step into the world of the Net, e-mail, etc. Many never use anything other than a mailer and a browser.

Many younger gen friends I know have set their parents up with Mac's because tend to be more intuitive, easier to use, and have fewer problems. A good thing when you're trying to avoid a "support" call from your family member every day!

Anyway, I question the conclusion..
Posted by Resii (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Macs are a good investment over PCs
In my own personal opinion, Macs are ten times better than the
traditional PC because the operating system on most Macs is
more advanced and is more secure than the Windows operating
system. It has been proven that Macs are less expensive than
some name brand PCs. Think about the $399 Dell Dimension
desktop compared with the Mac mini G4 back in 2005, which
got great reviews.

According to an Apple Sales Rep, the Intel-based Macs are
selling like hotcakes. And the iPod marketshare is one of the
benefactors to why so many people are ditching their PCs for a
user-friendly Macintosh. I've had my iBook G4 since October
2005 and I have never got one single virus, spyware, or any kind
of freezing or crashes, because my Mac is currently up to date
with the latest Mac OS X Tiger update and a Security Update that
will protect my computer from PC viruses.

Even though I own a Mac, I've talked with several people about
Macs and just about every one person was thinking about
purchasing a Mac and needed the info.

How many times do people come up to while you're on your PC
and ask you where you got your computer?

That's what happens to me when I use my iBook G4 in public.
People will ask me where I got my computer. But now that Apple
has expanded its Intel-based Mac line, you can get a computer
like mine called a MacBook that comes in two colors, white and
black and has a new Intel Core 2 Duo chip at 2.0 GHz with 2 GB
DDR2 SDRAM, 200 GB Serial ATA hard drive, Intel GMA 950
graphics with 64 MB shared memory, and a SuperDrive with
double-layer support for only $1,099 and $1,299 for the (white)
models and $1,499 for the (black) model.

At least my decision was the right one that will keep me in tune
with the world and protect me from viruses and I still get to be
creative with the applications that came with the computer,
including iWork, iLife, and more...

Posted by macuser12 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How much were you paid for that sales pitch?
Posted by SystemsJunky (409 comments )
Link Flag
Not Surprised
Apple appeals to a wide variety of people, but I have always thought its main support came from so-called "flower children" types.
Posted by Jane in KC (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
based on what?
Certainly not any market demographics I've seen.
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
Smug factor
"Macs don't have viruses!"
Niether do DEC Rainbows.

"Hey look! I wrote a virus that will infect less than 1% of the computers in the world!" People that stupid can't code anything beyond HTML.

Most Mac users who aren't old people, bought it to be cool. Mac sales have been increasing since they switched to being Windows compatible.

Macs are the betamax of the PC business.
Posted by liozzi (26 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You have no idea as to the "real" people who use Mac's

And as far as "betamax," sure with one exception -- the Mac's
market share is growing rapidly, not going away like Betamax

So sorry, Just Today (12/1/06) Apple's stock was raised to a
"Buy" as current industry analysis now project Apple will Own a
US Marketshare of 18% by 2016.

That is a far cry from Betamax, my friend, and it takes a lot more
than Ignorance to drive the kind of marketshare the Mac is
Posted by dansterpower (2511 comments )
Link Flag
Market share has nothing to do with security.

XP with a 5% market share is still as easy to exploit as it is now.

OSX is very very difficult to exploit, get it to propagate and you are in near impossible territory. That will not change as the market share for OSX rises.

Look up the most exploited web server on the market. You will see that it is not the market leader, not by a long shot. Not coincidently, that server is made by MS.

Isn't it funny that only MS employees, people who profit in someway from MS, and technically ignorant people defend Microsoft.

When you rush out and buy Vista, just know that it is still years behind the first OSX version in 2001 and is just as far behind Linux. But I suppose you can pretend you have an up to date innovative, secure OS when you are defragging your drive right after you ran AV and AS software.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
Information factor
Point by point so you can follow along:

1)"'Macs don't have viruses!' Niether [sic] do DEC Rainbows."

The DEC Rainbow was available in either a CP/M model or an MS-DOS model. Both of these OSes were susceptible to virus attack. Nice try but you lose.

2)"'Hey look! I wrote a virus that will infect less than 1% of the computers in the world!'"

OSX has 5% of US market share and 3% of international market share. In addition, their installed base is around 12-16% US.

3)"People that stupid can't code anything beyond HTML."

First, people who code malware for the most part do NOT do so for financial gain, so market share is irrelevant.
Second, if you had ever been to a security related computer convention, you would see that the percentage of macs in the crowd was equivalent, if not higher than, the non mac crowd. Of those, the majority were running Linux. Windows is NOT the OS of choice amoung hackers.

4)"Mac sales have been increasing since they switched to being Windows compatible."

First, macs are not "Windows compatible," they are Windows capable. Second, their increase in market share began well before the (stupid IMO, the G5 is a superior chip architecture) shift to Intel was announced.

5)"Macs are the betamax of the PC business."

In many ways, yes. Betamax is technically superior in every criteria of measurement. The tape passes over two capstans instead of six in the typical VHS tape,and so is subjected to less wear and stress. Audio fidelity is over 50% higher, close to that of CDs, and video quality and colour accuracy are also significantly greater. Beta tapes were smaller, and more compact, and cheaper to fabricate.
Beta failed due to improper marketing by Sony, who tried to muscle the market with a monopoly position.
In many ways, however, the mas is not at all like betamax. For one thing, people have been crying the death knell for the mac since it debuted in the early 80s. It is now over two decades later. and it is still going strong, having dominant market position in many markets. As such, your betamax analogy is fundamentally, and obviously, flawed.

The one coming off as smug if you.
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
Information factor
"'"Macs don't have viruses!' Niether do DEC Rainbows."

the DEC Rainbow came in two varieties, a CP/M version and an
MS-DOS version. As such, both varieties were replete with

"''Hey look! I wrote a virus that will infect less than 1% of the
computers in the world!'"

Macs have over 5% US market share and about 300% greater
than your estimates of world market share, and both are

"People that stupid can't code anything beyond HTML."

Obviously you have never attended a SecCon convention. At
least 50% of security researchers/hackers now use macs, if not
more. The majority of people who do scientific computing in the
biological sciences use macs. People who I dare say are a tad bit
smarter thanyou.
And I'll pit my coding skills in C++, PHP, PERL, Python, various
assemblers, heck, even FORTRAN 77, SmallTalk, or LISP, against
yours any day.

"Mac sales have been increasing since they switched to being
Windows compatible."

Mac sales were increasing well before they made the (mistaken;
the G5 was a far superior architecture) switch to Intel.

"Macs are the betamax of the PC business."

In many ways this is indeed true. Betamax was a superior format
in every technical measure you chose to examine. Mechanically,
the tape passed over 2 capstans instead of the 6 in the original
VHS spec, which resulted in far less tape wear and picture
degradation. The audio fidelity was close to that of CDs, and the
video bandwidth was close to double that of VHS. Internally, the
tape path was far less convoluted, leading to better time syncing
and less tape wear. The tapes were also cheaper to produce.
The only reason that VHS won out was a stupid marketing
decision by Sony to rely on their monopoly position and charge
exorbitant licensing fees. It had nothing to do with technical
People such as yourself have been announcing the imminent
death of the mac since it debuted in the early 80s. Now over two
decades later, it is still no closer to this prophesied demise. One
would think that this would give your ilk pause. Then again,
facts do not seem to impinge upon your world view to any
significant extent.
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
November 29, 2006 08:30 AM US Pacific Timezone
Mobile Computers on the Increase in US Homes, According to MetaFacts 2006 Home PC Brand Profile Report

Comparing Installed Bases of Major PC Brands Yields Interesting Results - Half of Apple Home Users Now Notebooks, While Dell is Nearing the Half-Way Mark

ENCINITAS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Homes are embracing notebook computers, with nearly 52 million as the homes primary computers, according to analysis released in the 2006 Home PC Brand Profile Report from MetaFacts, Inc. These 51.8 million notebooks are 30.2% of US primary home computers. Not all brands are equal when it comes to mobilizing their customers. In Apple households, over half (52%) of the personal computers are notebooks. In HP/Compaq households, just under one in six (16.1%) are notebook computers, while 46.1% of Dell PCs at home are notebooks. Dell continues to lead in sheer numbers with just over 24 million Dell notebooks in U.S. households, a 46.1% share of the home notebook PC market.
The Home PC Brand Profile Report is one of a series of summary reports on specific topics based on the results of MetaFacts 2006 Technology User Profile (TUP) study, which reveal the changing patterns of technology adoption and use in American households and businesses. The Home PC Brand Profile Report includes findings on PC types in homes, year purchased, age/gender of users, where home computers are used (respondents reported using them outside the home from cybercafés to copy shops), PC activities, Internet use, shopping and buying behavior, purchasing channels, printer use and more. The results are reported for all home PCs users in total, as well as separately by major PC brand (Apple, Dell, Gateway/eMachines, HP/Compaq, and other brands).

Newer computer models are now in almost half of homes, with 49.3% purchased since 2004. More than two-thirds of Apple and half of Dell and HP/Compaq primary home computers are less than 2 ½ years old. A substantial number of home computers are considered new enough that it's likely to cause resistance for home consumers to replace their PCs, said Dan Ness, principal at MetaFacts. This will have implications for releases of new applications and operating systems like Microsoft Vista.

Among other findings in the Home PC Brand Profile Report are age and gender of home PC users. Nearly half (46%) of Apple's base is age 55 and older, almost double the share of average home PC users (25.2%). Apple can claim long-time loyalists, but its future among the young technoliterati is an interesting dynamic, said Ness. Gateway has the lead among the 18-24 year olds, he continued, with a higher-than-average share of US homes primary PC users falling into this age group.

In addition to the Home PC Brand Profile Report, MetaFacts has recently produced the Workplace PC Brand Profile Report, which focuses on PCs used in the Workplace, and the Mobile PC Profile Report, which profiles notebook and tablet PC use.

TUP Profile Reports are one distribution format of TUP findings, offering the benefit of a research study focusing on a specific market segment or technology, with impactful analysis tapping into the nationally-representative surveys in each TUP Full Edition. Companies can also subscribe to the TUP Full Edition to receive complete survey results. Those new to the information provided in TUP can sign up at for complimentary TUPdates, which give insights on topics and findings in the full Technology User Profile. Finally, companies who need to delve further into findings can engage MetaFacts for a TUP Custom Re-Contact Study that further probes TUP respondents on issues relative to their specific industry, markets, and products.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a national market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts' Technology User Profile survey is the longest-running, largest, and most comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983. The detailed results are widely recognized as a primary marketing resource for Fortune 1000 companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, mobile devices, and related services and products. For more information, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300,, or


MetaFacts Inc., Encinitas
Dan Ness, 760/635-4306 or
760/635-4303 (fax)
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
College kids use Macs profusely.
On my campus at the U of A, every other laptop has a glowing
apple on the back of it. They're amazing machines for video
editing, media management, some gaming and just about anything
else you can throw at it. They may be popular with the seniors but
they're just as popular with the young, in the know crowd.
Posted by mongoos150 (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
College kids use Macs profusely.
On my campus at the U of A, every other laptop has a glowing
apple on the back of it. They're amazing machines for video
editing, media management, some gaming and just about anything
else you can throw at it. They may be popular with the seniors but
they're just as popular with the young, in the know crowd.
Posted by mongoos150 (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
College kids use Macs profusely.
On my campus at the U of A, every other laptop has a glowing
apple on the back of it. They're amazing machines for video
editing, media management, some gaming and just about anything
else you can throw at it. They may be popular with the seniors but
they're just as popular with the young, in the know crowd.
Posted by mongoos150 (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tough crowd
Tough crowd here :-)
Posted by azaltsman (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Buy Refurbished Ipod and save $!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by Ipod Apple (152 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Of course they're simple
I love Windows. I can do whatever I want with it, and people actually make software for it. People that are not associated with Windows. To make a Mac program you have to be Apple. No wonder the %5 market. Macs are so simple. They are very simple. They are also very beautiful to look at. Nice clean UI, I look up pictures of Macs on the internet just to admire their looks. They are so simple, you can hardly set any customization options, or do anything that they were not built by Apple to do. Who wants a MIDI synthesizer when you can get a guitar, right?
However, I do not despise Mac users. They like Macs. I don't think they are stupid, and I hope (although if they do, I don't care) that they don't think I'm stupid in return. I love Windows because that was my first OS. I was "brought up" so to speak, on Windows. I'm sure the same is true for Mac users. I have nothing against Macs, I think it's a matter of personal preference. Another thing, no one can build Macs but Apple. Anyone can build a PC. Naturally PCs have more malware than Macs. If you had a nuke (and you were a terrorist), who would you launch it at, Grytviken or the U.S.? But in the end, Windows rocks the house. Big time.

Ridentum dicere verum quid vetat?
Posted by Obidos (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Also, who wants a Mac when you can buy a Remington 700 XCR for less?
Posted by Obidos (2 comments )
Link Flag

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