“The iPhone is the Ford Mustang of today,” Thilo Koslowski, Gartner’s lead automotive analyst, recently told the New York Times.
What’s caused the change? For starters, driving has lost its cool with young Americans, who frankly have better things to do than sit behind the wheel of a tin can lodged in gridlock. And then there are gas prices that are expected to top $4.25 a gallon by April.
Thirty-seven million iPhones. Fifteen million iPads. Fifteen million iPods. Five million Macs. A million Apple TVs. No matter how you do the math, that’s a boatload of gadgets–and it’s how many Apple sold in the final three months of 2011. The company’s profits–$13.06 billion–were the second-highest in the history of American business, after ExxonMobil’s last quarter of 2008.
But I don’t care about Apple’s bottom line. What I find fascinating about these big numbers is what they say about the size of Apple’s customer base. It’s enormous, and still growing. And the larger it becomes, the weirder it gets that some people reflexively dismiss Apple owners as empty-headed, style-obsessed cult members.