Do you remember the “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” commercials, or the iPod commercials with silhouetted people dancing against solid color backgrounds? Marketers spent a lot of time and money trying to tell us what kind of people we were, or could be, if we chose certain devices.
This idea may seem strange to people outside the marketing world, but it turns out that there may be some logic to the idea.
According to a study of 500 smartphone users in the United Kingdom, there are some noticeable personality differences between iPhone and Android users.
Dr. David Ellis of Lancaster University, one of the study’s authors, says, “In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that an individual’s choice of smartphone operating system can provide useful clues when it comes to predicting their personality and other characteristics.”
The study found that, for example, iPhone users tended to be younger than Android users. They were also more than twice as likely to be women, more likely to see their phone as a status object, and less concerned about owning devices favored by most people. They also tended to be more extroverted.
Android users, on the other hand, turned out to be mostly male, more honest and agreeable, less likely to break rules for personal gain, and less interested in wealth and status.
The details aside though, what the study is really saying is that smartphones have become more than simply tools, they’re extensions of us as people. The proliferation of applications and operating systems allows users to personalize their devices to fit their needs, and that’s something to which manufacturers have been paying a lot of attention. The first question an app developer asks most likely isn’t “can we make this app” but “to whom will this app appeal?”
After the researchers analyzed the data, they were able to build and test a program that predicted with fairly good accuracy which type of smartphone a person owned based on individual personality differences.