retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Here are two stories that vividly illustrate the directions in which technology seems to be taking us ... or at least the directions in which the culture is driving technology.

• The Los Angeles Times this morning reports on a new study from Piper Jaffray & Co. saying that four out of ten US teens now own an iPhone - compared to the 17 percent of teens who made that same claim back in the spring of 2011.

In addition, the story says, "Piper Jaffray also found that the number of teens who own a tablet computer has jumped from 34% in spring 2012 to 44% in fall 2012 -- and 72% of those who do own a tablet own an iPad.

"You can bet that number will go up when/if Apple releases the heavily rumored iPad mini that is expected to cost $299."

• Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports this morning that "the personal-computer business has entered a tailspin," a situation "triggered by factors that include cannibalization by tablet computers, sluggish economic conditions and slowing PC sales in emerging countries."

According to the story, "the grim signs come as Microsoft Corp. and its allies are hoping to generate excitement in late October with a new version of Windows and new devices designed to run the software. Researchers IDC and Gartner Inc. said PC shipments in the third quarter fell more than 8% from a year earlier, the steepest drop since at least 2001. A third report, from IHS iSuppli, projected PC shipments for the full year would decline for the first time in 11 years ... Market watchers had expected some PC buyers to put off purchases until the launch of Microsoft's new operating system. But the severity of the slowdown in the third quarter—ordinarily a better one for PC sales because of back-to-school purchases and other factors—came as a surprise."
KC's View:
Love this note from the Times, which is quick to note that people should not go "all self-righteous about how spoiled kids are today," because the report does not specify which model iPhone kids have: "Now that the iPhone 5 has come out, you can find an iPhone 4S for about $100 and some deals offer an iPhone 4 for free. There's also a good chance that many of these teenagers are carrying around Mom and Dad's old iPhone hand-me-down. Passing along a working but outdated iPhone to a teenager is the perfect justification for a parent to go out and get a new phone."

So it is the parents who are spoiled.