Pretending to be rich? All it takes is an iPhone

Just by looking at her with an iPad tells you there's a good chance she's well off

There are caveats to the research, but the paper, which is based on data from 2016, explains that owning an iPhone gave researchers a 69 percent chance of correctly identifying someone as "high-income".

There are details and caveats to the research, but the economists found that owning an iPhone gave them a 69% chance to correctly infer that the owner was "high-income", which they defined as being in the top quartile of income for households of that type - like single adult or couple with dependents, for example. In a sample of almost 10,000 people, owning an iPhone in 2016 gave researchers a 62 percent chance of accurately guessing whether or not someone was educated.

The iPhone X is one of the most expensive phones today, with a $999 launch price.

It seems that owning an iPad back in 2016 was also a good indicator of wealth, though at 66.9 percent, it wasn't as fancy as owning an iPhone. In 2004, the top brands were a butter brand called Land O' Lakes Regular, Reynold Wrap aluminum foil, and Toshiba TV sets.

For 2016, other significant indicators of wealth include subscribing to Verizon at 61 percent and owning a generic Android phone at 59.5 percent. While the iPhone, and Apple products in general, are known to be high-priced premium devices, the rise in rank may also be attributed to general rise of smartphone ownership among people since the original's launch in 2007. And through strong branding over the years, it's the iPhone that appears to have remained the top choice for those who can afford it. More than 6,000 people were surveyed to acquire the data.

The next closest rival is Samsung, which accounts for 28.86 percent of phones sold in the United Kingdom in 2018 so far.

It also noted how status symbols had changed in the past two decades or so. In 1992, the technology-related wealth predictors were owning a phone answering machine and an automatic dishwasher.

Heated vehicle seats were another big indicator, followed by the ownership of dishwasher detergents and dishwashers in general, belonging to a frequent flyer club and travelling outside the U.S., as well as indulging in internet shopping for both goods and plane tickets.



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