Mapping iPhone And Android Users In A City Reveals Wealthier Areas [Image]

An aerial view of New York City. Red dots are iPhones. Green is for Android. Blackberry is that little bit of purple.

An aerial view of New York City. Red dots are iPhones. Green is for Android. Blackberry is that little bit of purple.

Over at The Atlantic, a fascinating study has been published that connects location data from smartphones with the layout of a heavily populated city. The findings are that the most iPhone activity is coming from wealthier areas, while Android usually dominates lower income districts. 

That picture comes from a new series of navigable maps visualizing some three billion global, geotagged tweets sent since September of 2011, developed by Gnip, MapBox and dataviz guru Eric Fischer. They’ve converted all of that data from the Twitter firehose (this is just a small fraction of all tweets, most of which have no geolocation data) into a series of maps illustrating worldwide patterns in language and device use, as well as between people who appear to be tourists and locals in any given city.

The above image of New York City is telling. The closer you get to downtown, the more people are tweeting from iPhones (although there is a significant amount of Blackberry activity in Manhattan, which includes the financial district of Wall Street). The patch of Android devices is Newark, an area where the median income for a household is $32,542.

Studies like this prove how our smartphones say a lot about us. Head on over to The Atlantic to check out more cities.

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  • Calactus

    Mmh… Haven’t seen that story posted on Cult of Android yet?

  • tavozapatareus

    in Bronx there’s iPhones,, Mmh,, something happen here

  • robogobo

    Begging the question.

    This is a horrible study. What’s the assumption, that iPhones are for rich and Android for poor? Wrong. The maps tells us nothing. The only way to draw the conclusion is to check it against other data, such as the median income from an area, which is what was done. From there the claim is that the map proves this, which is does not. All it tells us is that iPhone owners have iPhones, etc etc. Plus, the purple mixed in with red just looks like more red. Horrible.

  • ahitagni

    What if someone has an Android phone that is the new Vertu Ti ? Will you be considering him poor? If you consider him poor then buy me one Vertu Ti http://www.vertu.com/en/collections/vertu-ti.aspx Thanks. :)

  • Sajonara

    It’s Eric Fischer, the Atlantic corrected it’s entry, you could do it likewise. :)

  • sypin

    The only other info apart from the location data, is the median income for a household in Newark…

    Keep it classy.

  • jxhlbiha

    The map is fundamentally flawed to favor the iPhone over Android. The red iPhone dots overlay the green Android dots entirely, and alpha-blending is non-existent.

    Take a look at the actual map:

    http://www.mapbox.com/labs/twitter-gnip/brands/#

    Disable the red iPhone overlay, and notice how many green Android areas appeared that weren’t visible with both overlays. Now enable the red iPhone overlay, and notice how many green areas turn completely red, without any alpha-blending.

    If you do this, you notice that there’s just as much Android usage in the areas supposedly dominated by Apple. The areas of green in the pictures just show Android usage with little to no iPhone usage.

    Biased map is biased.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for over two years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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