Tech blogger Jim Lynch recently declared that iOS 7 — the new operating system update that Apple will be sending to all iPhone and iPad users in the next few days — was “
designed for a gaggle of giggling 13 year old girls.” His review was sexist (he called it a “feminized mess,” as if there was something wrong with being feminine), but he also touched on an interesting point.
The new iOS 7 does come with a lot of pastel colours, and it has a much lighter overall look. And Apple products are skewed by gender in terms of their market share.
So it’s worth asking: Is iOS 7 designed in a way to make it more appealing to women?
Colour schemes and designs do have different levels of appeal to men and women. That’s why Victoria’s Secret has an entire line called “Pink.” It’s also why PepsiCo recently decided to focus its marketing for Diet Pepsi entirely on women and not men. (It’s interesting that the colour scheme and the typefaces used on Diet Pepsi are somewhat similar to those being used in iOS 7.)
Before the iPhone was launched, Apple’s iPod users — who were expected to be the big early adopters of the iPhone —
skewed heavily male:
According to Solutions Research Group, the average iPhone customer is a 31-year-old man with a college degree and an income of $US75,600 per year — a salary 26 per cent higher than the American average. Almost half (43 per cent) of all likely buyers lived in technically adept states such as California and New York, but only 28 per cent were female. Younger buyers dominated, with 63 per cent aged 34 or younger.
Apple has since turned that around, although it took years for the genders to reach parity in terms of consumer desire for Apple’s mobile products. In 2010, 30.9% of women said they wanted their next device to be an iOS device, compared to 28.6% of men. Men, on the other hand, desired Android devices by more than 10 points more than women, at the time.
By 2011, surveys show that Apple’s lead with female consumers had increased: iPhone/iOS users were 18% more likely to be female than male, according to Hunch.
Mums in particular over-index toward Apple, according to usage data from Flurry, a mobile analytics company.
And men over-index on Android devices, according to eMarketer.
Apple isn’t all women, all the time, however. On tablets, Android and Kindle have a slight lead with women over men, according to comScore.
And now comes the iPhone 5C, available in five light, bright shades. And the gold iPhone 5S, which gives users a choice above black and white. Notice that the new colours do not include “masculine” shades like burgundy, navy blue or Lincoln green. Only the black iPhone 5S comes in a traditionally male colour.
Given that iPhone and iPad usage is “gendered,” in that women are stronger Apple consumers than men, it is not completely outrageous to assume that Apple wants to ensure that its operating environment doesn’t alienate women.
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