Apple may paint itself as the hippest computer name in the market, but if new figures are to be believed, nearly half of the company's customers are aged 55 or older.

Metafacts has produced figures in which it claims 46 percent of Apple customers are edging retirement age - an image that would stand in stark contrast to the perceived popularity of products like the iPod among younger generations.

Apple refutes the figures. "MetaFacts' data is incorrect," said a spokesperson. "Our customer data shows that only around 20 percent of Mac users are over the age of 55. The Mac is more popular than ever, and we are thrilled that our products appeal to people of age 1 to 100." If Metafacts' website is any judge of its professionalism, however, Apple is right to question the stats.

The same Metafacts report also says that 25.2 percent of PC users are over the age of 55. The report, which focuses on mobile computing data, says that in Apple households, more than half (52 percent) of the personal computers are notebooks. This compares to 16.1 percent for HP/Compaq and 46.1 percent for Dell.

"Apple can claim long-time loyalists, but its future among the young techno-literati is an interesting dynamic," said Dan Ness, principal at MetaFacts. "Gateway has the lead among the 18 to 24 year olds, with a higher-than-average share of US homes' primary PC users falling into this age group."