What the Kids Say About Apple

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2013 | 3:55 PM ET
Has Apple Lost Its Cool?
CNBC's Jane Wells asks college students which smartphone is the "coolest."

Sitting in the Student Union at California State University Northridge, one witnesses a diverse cross section of college students. At this public university in the San Fernando Valley, undergrads come from across the socioeconomic spectrum.

But they all have one thing in common. They are experts in smartphones.

This is the digital generation, taste makers and trend setters on social media. Nearly all of the students I interviewed owned iPhones, but many had not yet moved up to the latest model—"This new software is not as good as the old one," said student Gurpreet Virdi.

What to buy next is a huge topic of debate.

"A couple of my friends have a Samsung Galaxy, they're starting to not like Apple," said Andrew Tadrous. "Me, personally, I'd want the iPhone more than Samsung because it sounds good."

There is plenty of talk about friends who've switched to Samsung phones, though out of 20 interviews, we only found one student who owned one, Jetzabel Rangel. "Why spend more on an iPhone?" she said. "You get the same technology and stuff."

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A survey last year by the University of Missouri's Reynolds Journalism Institute showed the most people ages 18 to 34 had an Android based phone like the Samsung (56 percent), compared to an iPhone (46 percent). Many had more than one device.

"I don't think they (Apple) are going to lose status, I just don't think they're going to be the sole providers for that anymore," said student Yollotl Lopez.

Juliana Alden sat sipping an iced coffee listening to music on her iPhone while studying on her Mac.

"My fiance has a Galaxy and he loves that phone...so we kind of compete back and forth with each other." When asked who's winning the competition, she replied, "He thinks he is."

"I think a lot of these other phones are more hype than anything," said Andres Dominguez, who has no intention of buying anything other than an Apple product. "(Apple) is just in transition right now. Of course they just lost Steve Jobs, so you've got to give them time. I mean, Apple TV looks pretty cool."

"I think (Apple) still has a cool image," agreed Jason Marcotte, "but they need to do a solid job in the future making sure they retain that."

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