He Wishes: HTC President Claims iPhone 5 Hype Declining
It isn’t hard for media influencers and business stakeholders to get their fifteen minutes of fame in the iPhone 5 rumor mill: all you have to do is say something stupid or outrageous, and stick “iPhone 5″ somewhere in the middle of it. Google takes care of the rest, and will make sure your quote gets splayed across the news aggregates at a viral pace.
This seems to be the modus operandi of HTC America acting President Martin Fichter, who may be taking his title of “acting” rather literally while recently commenting that the iPhone isn’t really considered to be “cool” anymore: “And none of them [young people Fichter reportedly knows] has an iPhone because they told me: ‘My dad has an iPhone,’” commented Fichter. “If you look at a college campus, MacBook Airs are cool. iPhones are not that cool anymore.” Mr. Fichter shows his hand, however, adding that, according to IBTimes, “the lag in the iPhone’s cool factor was a result of Apple’s tendency to use patents to hinder other company’s rather than create “cool” new products.”
It would appear that, in addition to their being a hefty measure of “iPhone jealousy” going on here, there’s also a bit of hurt feelings over Apple’s patent victories in 2011 victories.
If you follow the iPhone news, then you know that there is a litany of analytical evidence that supports the notion the iPhone 5 will sell astoundingly well. We reference ad nauseum the report that claims as many as one third of consumers will come to own an iPhone 5.
But all of these reports are predicting the future. Let’s look at the iPhone 5 in the present tense, offering some quantitative evidence from Google’s own search results.
Crunching the iPhone 5 Hype Numbers Using Google
There is no better barometer for hype than Google Search. So, let’s look at some of the numbers of the high-value “iPhone 5″ keyword, and how it stacks up against the “iPhone 4″ keyword search in 2010.
At present, the “iPhone 5 keyword” receives 9.14 million monthly global searches on Google alone. Of these, 2.24 million come from the U.S. Compared with the “iPhone 4″ keyword, which gets 37.2 million searches a month, Mr. Fichter’s quote may appear to be somewhat credible. But when you take into account the fact that the bulk of searches for “iPhone 4″ are now a result of the device being the most popular smartphone in the world, together with the fact that the iPhone 5 doesn’t even exist yet, the 9.14 million searches for the iPhone 5 astounding number.
Then there’s the graph comparison.
What you are looking at here is the 2010 Insights for Search graph from Google for the “iPhone 4″ keyword. What this graph measures isn’t actual search volumes, but rather a normalized representation of the percentage of all Google searches that are “iPhone 4.” Google explains it thusly: “The numbers on the graph reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. They don’t represent absolute search volume numbers, because the data is normalized and presented on a scale from 0-100. Each point on the graph is divided by the highest point, or 100. When we don’t have enough data, 0 is shown. The numbers next to the search terms above the graph are summaries, or totals.”
As you can see, the popularity of the “iPhone 4″ keyword remained flat until the WWDC in 2010, at which point the keyword search took off. After that point, it has remained at a very high level, which supports the steady, robust sales of the iPhone from the Summer of 2010 until now.
But now take a look at the “iPhone 5″ graph:
The track of this graph is completely different! Unlike the iPhone 4 chart, which shows a flat run-up to its announcement with a sudden burst of excitement, the “iPhone 5″ keyword has steadily pitched upward to the point that it is now garnering the lion’s share of search interest on Google — and it doesn’t even exist yet!
My prediction (and it’s an easy one to make) is that Google will see unprecedented search volume for the “iPhone 5″ keyword once it is announced. But one thing is for sure: Mr. Fichter’s comments that the iPhone is no longer cool is either an incredibly naive perception (which, I would argue, would be dangerous for the success of HTC as a company) or else a cynical ploy to get HTC mentioned in iPhone 5 discussion.