Commentary

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Mac Metropolis

Complaints about spotty wireless coverage from iPhone users in San Francisco and New York are well-documented. Their frustration stems in part from the heavy concentration of iPhone owners in each city, loaded with affluent, gadget-obsessed workers who would be lost without checking in via Foursquare every 5 minutes.

But where else does the signature Apple device find a home around the country? In a new study, Experian Simmons maps not only where most iPhone owners can be found, but where devotees of other Apple products, including the iPod and Mac computer, tend to congregate. (Too early to include the iPad, no doubt.)

Leading the rankings of these "Mac metropolises" based on Experian's geographical analysis of the country's 206 Designated Market Areas (DMAs), not surprisingly, was the Bay Area. Residents of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, collectively, are 49% more likely than the average American to own or use an iPod, iPhone or Mac. It would be embarrassing if Apple's own backyard wasn't the country's iCapital.

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But despite its iPhone woes, New York wasn't the second biggest center of Apple fanboys (and girls). That honor went to Boston, which is fitting since the city and its surrounding region is considered second only to Silicon Valley as a U.S. high-tech hub. Bostonians were 45% more likely to own an Apple device.

New York came in fourth after San Diego, another technology-centric area. Nearly one-third of inhabitants of both cities have drunk the Apple Kool-Aid. Rounding out the top five Apple markets was Washington, D.C. where people were 39% more likely to use one of the company's key products. Of course, that doesn't necessarily include President Obama, the world's best-known BlackBerry fan.

So what part of the country has proven most resistant to the siren call of Apple CEO Steve Jobs? No. 206 on the list is the triumvirate of Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill in southern West Virginia. If the region actually wants more iPhones, iPods or Macs, maybe it can take a page from Topeka and rename itself "Apple, West Virginia."

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