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iPhone brand recognition high among teenagers, but why?

A new survey performed by Piper Jaffray shows that 84 percent of their 500 teenagers sampled have heard of the Apple iPhone. According to our resident scientists, the sample size is just large enough to make deductions about the entire teenage population; hooray for statistics! According to a senior Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, some of them are even willing to cough up the $500 for the opportunity to try and make up for their social anxiety:苏州美睫美甲

iPhone awareness among students is high, and 25 percent show interest at the $500 price-point.

It is unclear how many of the 25 percent would be willing to cough up $500 of their money to purchase an iPhone, but it is probably safe to say that a good portion of that 25 percent would be willing to spend $500 of their parents' money.

The question, for me, is: where exactly are teenagers hearing about the iPhone? Stop for a second and remember your teen years (or perhaps you're still in them). Yes, there's plenty of gadget-loving geeks and Mac enthusiasts in school, but there's just as many people who aren't geeks. Yet Apple's iPhone brand recognition is 84 percent amongst this group. This is impressive.

Sure, Ars readers (teen or not) have heard of it, as most of us watched the keynote or have seen one of the countless news segments detailing the a product that wont be released for another three months. But where have 84 percent of teenagers seen it? The vague commercials hinting at the phone certainly haven't exactly been airing non-stop; I still haven't seen one since the Oscars. Most teenagers I know don't spend much time watching the news either. [Disclaimer: I work with teens] So what's the source of this tremendous interest in the iPhone?

My bet (one that probably wont be fully supported) is that it's a combination of a few things: the iPod "halo," viral marketing (MySpace activity, comment spam, etc.), and the explosion of iPhone scams and hoaxes ("Win a free iPhone" flash ads, etc.).

Will that brand recognition turn into sales? Cell phones are definitely a status symbol among teens, as is the iPod. Actual adoption rates seem to have a lot to do with cost, however, and at $500, the iPhone is certainly more expensive than the iPod.

Do we see teens today by-and-large plunking down $500 for smartphones, or ever $300 for the latest and greatest? When the Motorola Razr first appeared, we saw very few teens with them. It wasn't until the price fell significantly (from $299 to $99 in my market, in only a few months) that we saw a higher teenage adoption rate.

Yet with Apple, it isn't clear that the normal cell phone price cycle will happen. It seems more likely that Apple will release newer models at the same price point and discontinue the older phones all the time, doing everything necessary to not create a surplus in the market.

So the brand is strong among teens, as many say that they hope to buy it. If that does happen, it will be a kind of "first" in the cellphone market, because Apple isn't likely to discount phones, leaving this to be one expensive status symbol.