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Apple's fanboys have all grown up

A YouGov study shows that Apple's fanboys have aged. The 35-plus sector is a bigger supporter of the brand than the 18- to 34-year-old. Now do you see why Apple did the boy Genius ads?

2 min read
Apple screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

There is always something that seems so young about the Apple fanboy.

The excitability, the hysteria, the lining up on the street just to be first in line at Club Apple.

Yet the term "fanboy" might now be inaccurate. For Apple's fanboys are now fanmen and fanwomen, not fanboys and fangirls.

A YouGov study shows that Apple's biggest fan demographic is now the 35-plus age group, not the 18- to 34-year-old sector that always dominated with its groupied adulation.

YouGov's BrandIndex Buzz reveals that the minute Siri arrived, clutching the iPhone 4S to her ample intellect, the over 35s flocked. So much so that Apple's perception rating among that older age group soared, while the 18- to 34-year-olds slipped into a little more meh.

The more mature crowd became so overexcited about the Apple brand that its buzz score among them went from a respectable 25 on May 17 last year to a whirring 48 by November. At that November point, the 18- to 34-year-olds merely buzzed a 35 on YouGov's excitement Richter.

You see, Siri seduces those who have been around.

Those who still have their objectivity intact might, then, wonder again about why Apple made its boy Genius ads -- the ones that the shrill seemed to loathe, while the sanguine merely pondered.

Isn't it likely that once more of the 35-plus crowd adored their iPhones, they began to seek out iPads and Macs? Isn't it likely that, whatever one might think of the boy Genius ads (and personally I found them inoffensive), they were an attempt to address what is now Apple's biggest fan base?

The more shrill fanboys still live for times when Apple was the cool underdog.

The company is generally desperate not to show the consumer's face, so as not to identify one age group or sex. This is why the new Siri ads are celebrity-driven, for example. Celebrities aren't real people. They can be any age or sex, as long as they bring with them cachet.

But even in those prosaic iPad ads, did all the knees look like young knees to you? How many 18- to 34-year-olds read The New York Times, so heavily featured in much of the iPad work?

Apple is now a mainstream, mature brand, trying to maintain its cool -- in every sense of that word.

When your biggest fan base has grown up, perhaps you have to be a little more grown-up too. That is sometimes hard for rabidly emotional youth to take.