Twitter heat map shows iPhone use by the affluent, Android by the poor

“A map plotting the location and device platform of over a quarter billion mobile tweets show predominate use of iPhones in affluent areas and Android in poor regions, with scant representation of Blackberry outside of major cities and its strongholds in Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider.

“The interactively explorable globe by MapBox, tweeted by Benedict Evans, pairs data from GNIP and Twitter to light up the world one tweet at a time,” Dilger reports. “The resulting image of North and Central America depicts the wealthier, urban [areas] of United States and Canada (above) as lit up in iPhone red, while in some rural areas and south of the border, there’s more Android green and Blackberry purple.”

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Dilger reports, “The same pattern emerges in Europe… In Asia, the pattern repeats again… In closer detail, the same applies to the San Francisco Bay Area (below), where more affluent neighborhoods in Marin and Berkeley and from Silicon Valley to San Francisco appear in bright red while green dominates in poorer neighborhoods: West Oakland, East Palo Alto, Hunter’s Point, Richmond and Vallejo.”

Read more, and see the heat maps, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Android. The poor man’s iPhone.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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  1. It’s reasonable for the low income ones to use android phones, which cost less. But it’s not so reasonable for those “other” affluent who could afford an iPhone but go for Samsung Galaxy’s.

    1. I don’t believe there is any doubt that higher-income consumers buy iPhones, spend more at the iTunes Store, and make more online purchases.  But I don’t believe Twitter activity is a reliable indicator of ownership trends.

      A map of population density or a photo from space would look very similar to the Twitter maps in the article.

      1. Excellent point. I have an iPhone, iPad, etc, and have probably used Twitter 5 times…none of which in the last year.

        If more affluent people tend to have iPhones (which I agree), I’d also say that younger people tend to send many more tweets, yes?

        Younger people tend NOT to be affluent…so essentially this map plotting is completely biased to show a higher percentage of Android sufferers, simply due to its data basis.

        I still agree with its conclusion (iPhone = more affluent), but I’d bet reality would show a lot more iPhone and a lot less Android than the twitter-based data.

      2. I disagree. If you look at the map of Los Angeles, most iPhones appear on the west side. That’s from about West Hollywood to the beach. iPhone population on Twitter is dense, but most of the west is red. As you get closer to the water, you find greater wealth. That is definitely where the money is in LA.

        Central, East and South (read Mexican and Mexican/ Diminishing Black) are much less affluential. iPhone traffic is present, but much more rare and spread out. If you clustered all iPhone traffic together in the east, it would be a red cluster compared to how much there is in the west.

        It is my theory, based purely on observation and conversations with people, that less affluent people tend to text more than anything else, by a wide margin. I see it all the time.

        Rich clients and their children all have iPhones and turn their noses up at Android. Kids have iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros. These folks tend to be far more engaged in passing time with social media, from twitter to instagram to pinterest to google+, and so on.

        Poorer clients look for deals. A smartphone is a smartphone, there is no significant difference between Android and an iPhone, and this plan from Boost mobile gives me a free Android phone, now can you make it talk to my $400 Dell laptop. More interest in texting, emailing, and big on Facebook.

        It’s not weird. When your household income is $200,000 a year and you have 2 kids they get good stuff. When your household income is $75,000 a year and you have 4 to 6 kids, they get not quite as good stuff.

        1. I agree with your take with one exception- the Android use among wealthy is not insignificant. The link that follows is the map of many of the wealthier/trendier areas of Metro LA- Westside, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, etc.
          Now turn off the iPhone stats by clicking on the Red iPhone Button which will reveal all other use- it is still very significant. The complaint that the Red visually overwhelms the green might be legit.

          Here is the link zoomed in

    2. Go to map and turn off all phone colors, then turn on green(Android)take a look, then turn off and turn on Red(Iphone)pretty much same difference.. They used red because it washes out green.

  2. Am I correct that those maps have data gathered by use of Twitter only? I know a lot of people who have iPhones that do not use Twitter at all. I rarely use it and only use it to follow not tweet. So these still aren’t accurate dots really.

        1. A group of Ravens is called an “unkindness.” Or a “constable” or “conspiracy”
          Hmm… “murder of crows” and “unkindness of Ravens” no negative stereotype going on there right?

          Should be a “college” of Crows since intelligence and tool use has been proven.

      1. I think another thing this might say is that the rich have more things to do than mess with their tech – so they get the iPhone. The poor just buy the cheapest thing out there, but because it takes so much time to tweak and fiddle with it, they are never able to capitalize on the increased productivity that a good smart phone can offer. Thus their tech perpetuates their poorness. So perhaps even if you are poor, but get an iPhone you could become more productive and therefore less poor?

    1. maybe on account of because there are way more poor people than “rich” people ?

      and maybe because the “rich” end of the iphone market is becoming saturated – i.e. most of us who want and can easily afford them already have them.

      and maybe because mr. apples valuation has been based on its growth potential – which seems for the moment to be slowing.

      and we won’t even get started on wall streets greedy and manipulative nature, and how they exploit apple for their own avaricious ends…..

      seems to me it is time for mr. apple to move – or perhaps better said – to expand, beyond its elitist market segment. they have, from the outset built remarkable products, for which they have always charged a premium and which have always yielded fat margins. they have thus catered to the portion of the population with more disposable income available to spend on their products. but we are only a very small portion of the population, both in america and world wide.

      apple needs to get with it and produce iphones that less affluent people around the world can afford, to initially get them thru the door and into the apple eco-system. then you let the halo effect work its magic.

      as their incomes gradually rise they can then begin to buy into the higher priced products which we fortunate others are already able to afford. no point in letting samsung and others dominate the low end of the market in perpetuity.

      go for low margins now in the realistic expectation that they will grow in the future as your market base grows.

      1. I don’t think the rich end of the market will ever become saturated (assuming there continues to be innovation), for the simple reason that if you’re rich then you’re more likely to always want the latest and greatest (when it comes out so you can show it off, superficial I know but this is how the world is today). Apple brings out it’s new and improved iwhatever and if money is no object you’ll probably buy it (I can’t help myself and I’m not even rich). At the same time you’ll trade in your iLastyear to the not so rich. And so the money-go-round continues until the next year.

  3. I have several penny-pinching friends that used to (and still do) ridicule me about using Macs (and the same for iPhone), yet they got a new cheap “PC” every year and do the same with the android phones. In their mind is the point of a new PC or new Android every year at minimal price. However I keep hounding at them that they pay as much for their “new” PC and “new” phone just about every year that I do for mine over 2 to 2 1/2 years.

    They like “new”, I like function and form!

    1. I have several friends who swear by Android – these same people would have bought an Edsel.

      In the high end market, Samsung/Android is the Edsel of smartphones – it costs more and customers disliked its cluttered look, so it didn’t sell well. Ford had bet on a clunker that nearly killed the company.

  4. The longer your family has been in the US, the more likely you are to buy an iPhone. You are less American if you buy a Samsung, because the meaning of nationalism is supporting your country’s products over the Korean fugazi imports.

    It is not the poor who buy Android, it is the downtrodden, the alienated, the worker bees, the people who actually do labor in this country… add in the late payment or pre-pay penalty because of their bad credit and they have a higher monthly phone bill and a worse phone than those of us with a higher credit score. Are these people less American than the rest of us because they have a lower credit score and have to get Androids? I would say the banks and credit score companies do control how American these people are and the bank says RENTER ANDROID FORECLOSURE on the green areas where the other areas get good credit and iPhones. Feeling damn lucky to an American and born with a good credit score.

  5. With Americans still overwhelmingly getting subsidised phones on two-year contracts, it is so fascinating to see how easily carriers, as well as handset makers, clean it up in the US.

    For the ordinary public, cellphones cost between $0 and $200, with very few of them going above that, for top-of-the-line, premium features (extra storage space, etc). The prevailing reasoning behind all those Android purchases in the Bronx (vs. Manhattan, for example, and it is the same elsewhere in the US) is that if you can get two $100 Androids for a $200 iPhone, you will of course rather get two phones for the price of one, and if you can get an Android for free ($0 with contract), well, then it is an unbeatable deal, how can you get better than free?

    Vast majority of Americans (and quite a few MDN readers, apparently) don’t know that a “free” phone costs them upwards of $450, and the $200 iPhone will cost them over $650 when they are done with their contract. And even more of them rejoice when their contract is over and they are on “month-to-month”, without getting a new subsidised phone and signing a new contract, not realising that they are donating free money to their carrier (by paying a full monthly bill, which includes a subsidy portion for a new phone, even though the phone has been paid off an they never got a new one).

    T-Mobile is the only carrier in America that is clearing up the “$0 with contract” illusion. Until the majority of population begins to understand that the “$100 with contract” phone actually costs over $500, and the $200 iPhone is only about 20% more expensive (and not twice as much), they will still believe they are getting an amazing deal with those Androids.

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