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More than 80 percent of teens own iPhone, survey says

Commentary: The bi-annual Taking Stock of Teens survey from Piper Jaffray says teen iPhone ownership is still on the rise.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Do teens really adore the iPhone? Or do they have old ones handed down?

Josh Miller/CNET

I've heard it said that today's teens are more sensible, more conservative than generations before them.

I don't necessarily mean conservative politically. It's simply my impression that they look at their elders with a tinge of pity at what they've done to the world.

Might such a conservatism explain why ever greater numbers of teens seem to be iPhone owners?

I ask because investment bank Piper Jaffray released its bi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey on Tuesday.

Researchers asked more than 6,000 US teens, whose average age is 16.4 years old, what they spend money on and which brands they hold dear to their hearts.

And, yet again, it appears the preferred smartphone of teens is the iPhone.

When I say "preferred," I almost want to say, in a dismissive teen voice: "Ugh, what's that? A Samsung?!" 

You see, 82 percent of teens surveyed said they owned an iPhone, and 84 percent said their next phone would be an iPhone. This sounds like uncommon brand loyalty.

Last October, 78 percent said they owned an iPhone, and 82 percent said their next phone would be an iPhone.

Can this mean that today's teens are true to their word?

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

There's something quite odd about the apparent dominance of Apple's phones among teens. After all, Samsung's ads, for example, have always done very well in viral charts -- often markedly better than Apple's. Don't teens bathe in viral-this and viral-that all the time?

It could be, of course, that many of the iPhones these teens own have been handed down to them by frugal, self-centered parents who want the newest iPhones for themselves.

Still, if an old brand like Apple can hold this level of cachet among teens, it must cheer CEO Tim Cook. 

If the company can suck in the young and wrap them in its relatively simple, efficient ecosystem, they may find it very hard to leave. 


That's what you might call a trend.

Piper Jaffray screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET