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Youth lighting up Twitter, Facebook, Instagram about iOS 7

Social media reactions to the launch of iOS 7 yesterday appears to have been heavily driven by youth, who hated the wait but are loving the product.

iOS 7 Anticipation

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter were full of angst and humor related to the initial wait for the iOS 7 update to become available.

For some users, it appeared as if it would take hours (below), as Apple was tasked with delivering the roughly 750 MB iOS 7 upgrade download to a big chunk of the 300 million devices currently using iOS 6. Coping with the massive demand reportedly resulted in high priority internal alerts.

Just a few hours later, the actual wait time was getting dramatically exaggerated by end users, rather than Apple's servers.

iOS 7 Obsession

There initially was so much talk about iOS 7 on social media networks that eventually there was nearly as much talk about the talk about iOS 7 as there was talk about iOS 7.

iOS 7


iOS 7

iOS 7


iOS 7

iOS 7

and some hoe talkin bout she lonely

— ▲ Arrogant ▲ (@ArrogantCortez) September 19, 2013

Even users without iPhones were excited about iOS 7, judging from over one hundred thousand downloads of this particular iOS 7 skin in Google Play. There are currently over 300 of these "apps" in Google Play library (although many are simply wallpapers and junkware pretending to be an app).

iOS 7 Appreciation

Cook Ive Federighi

The full scale redesign of iOS 7, led by Apple's chief executive Tim Cook, design guru Jony Ive, its software technology maven Craig Federighi and involving months of intense work by thousands of Apple employees, did not go unnoticed by youth on Instagram (where there were nearly 500,000 images tagged #ios7 yesterday afternoon), on Facebook and Twitter.

Instagram hashtag iOS7

Teens & iPhones

Youth's excitement surrounding iOS 7 might come as a surprise, given that in January a top headline making the rounds asked whether the iPhone was "no longer cool to teens?" After months of being broadly syndicated, largely without criticism, that headline now generates 189 million search results from Google.

All of those reports can be traced back to one source: Buzz Marketing Group, run by Tina Wells, who issued the report and was subsequently quoted by Fortune as saying "Teens are telling us Apple is done. Apple has done a great job of embracing Gen X and older [Millennials], but I don’t think they are connecting with Millennial kids [who are] all about Surface tablets/laptops and Galaxy."Apple maintained a significant edge over Samsung in smartphone ownership among youth 18-24, as well as being better represented among users 25-34.

Since January, however, Apple's iPhones subsequently outsold Samsung's higher end Galaxy phones, despite a series of flashy new product launches and aggressive smartphone discounting and promotion by Samsung. Meanwhile, the Surface turned out to a huge dud for Microsoft across all demographics, generating a write-off of nearly a billion dollars.

All mention of the "iPhone isn't cool" study, which was formerly prominently featured on the research firm's website, has since been removed.

A few months before the study was circulated among adults, pop icon Justin Bieber tweeted out an selfie captioned, "took this on my Iphone 5 the front camera is definitely clearer," generating 316,000 likes on Instagram, 45,950 retweets and over 27,000 favorites on Twitter from squealing fans.

Research based on surveys is notoriously biased by the questions users are asked, resulting in data that is clearly not accurate. Research based on demographics, rather than asking leading questions, arrives at different conclusions.

In August, report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners looking at such demographics about smartphone ownership was largely reported as noting that more than twice as many Samsung owners were switching to iPhones rather than moving in the opposite direction. Samsung has more middle age users and significantly greater penetration among seniors 55-64.

It was also broadly reported, as Philip Elmer-Dewitt of the Fortune Apple 2.0 wrote, that the data "showed, not surprisingly, that Apple's customers tend to be richer and better educated than Samsung's."

Nearly 70 percent of iPhone users reported earning more than $50,000, while only 55 percent of Samsung's buyers did, and the number of users with a college degree, masters or doctorate were also much more likely to have an iPhone. This kind of data has also shown up in heat maps of users in affluent locations.

However, the data also showed that Apple maintained a significant edge over Samsung in smartphone ownership among youth 18-24, as well as being better represented among users 25-34. On the other hand, Samsung has more middle age users and significantly greater penetration among seniors 55-64, perhaps related to the oversized screens Samsung commonly uses.

Source: Consumer Intelligence Research Partners

Ironically, Samsung has tried for the last two years to advertise that iPhones are for old people. Last year, Samsung's TV ads portraying young users bumping phones to exchange playlists using NFC as bewildered older people waited in line for the iPhone 4S. The youngest person in line flashed his Galaxy S III and announced that he was just holding a place for his middle aged parents. A second ad campaign again presented befuddled, greying parents with iPhones as young people acted young and enthusiastically used proprietary Samsung features. Samsung has since taken the video spots off of YouTube.

iOS 7 is the update you can get

Google currently lists over a billion search results for "iOS 7," more than "Android 4.3," which launched back in July. A big part of that discrepancy is that nearly all existing iOS users can upgrade to iOS 7, while a very small percentage of the Android installed base can get the latest version of Android, thanks to the carriers and phone vendors (including Samsung) who don't see Google's updates as worth delivering to their customers.

Android versions Sept 2013
Source: Google

Currently, only 8.5 percent of Android users actively using Google Play even have last year's Android 4.2. In contrast, nine months after Apple released iOS 6, over 93 percent of the installed base had installed it. Another six percent were using iOS 5, released the same month as Android 4.0.

Apple expects a similar majority of its user base to upgrade to iOS 7, and has facilitated broad updates by making sure the new software can run even on iPhone 4, which was released three years ago in 2010. Few, if any, Android or Windows Phone models older than a year are ever eligible for major system updates.