Android or iPhone—Who's the Real Sheeple?
Plus! Update Frankie X Love Update!! Snow Lions!!!
Welcome to Issue #58 of CAFÉ ANNE!
In last week’s issue, I wrote about how reader Frank in Ohio asked me to help track down a young lady that his son Frankie met at the Vig Bar in Nolita on his recent trip to NYC. Frankie thought she might be “the one” —so much so that he lied and told her he lives in New York.
His phone was dead when he tried to get her number, so he used her phone to call himself and leave a message. Unfortunately, when he got home and charged up, the call hadn’t gone through. Perhaps he had dialed the wrong number—he wasn’t completely sober at the time.
Naturally I agreed to help. I posted an ad on Craigslist NYC’s Missed Connections forum to search for the missing lady. I also asked readers for leads. It wasn’t long before a young woman responded to the ad and said she matched Frankie’s description. She even sent her photo.
Boy, was I excited. And I wasn’t the only one. “I can’t wait for an update on Frankie!” wrote reader Rebecca H. in the comments.
Others, however, were less enthusiastic.
“I don’t know, Frankie seems like he could stand to work on being more honest and genuine in his interactions with women. You get back what you give out, you know?” said reader Jenn B.
Either way, Frankie’s missed connection is still missing. “That young lady is beautiful and she looks to have a nice smile, indicative of a nice person,” Frank wrote after passing the photo on to his son. “But I'm sorry to say that is NOT the young lady.”
“I wonder if the Vig Bar has some sort of "missed connections" message board to help its patrons find love???” he added.
I will find out! Meanwhile, at her request, I sent Frankie’s photo to the young lady who responded to the ad. She said she’d love to meet him the next time he’s in town…
Enough about Frankie! I’m very excited about this week’s issue. The Animal of the Month is the Snow Lion. And the feature is a break from the usual NYC reportage—it’s a look at Android vs iPhone users and how they are different. I only discovered halfway through working on this story that I am the one zillionth person to examine this fake issue. Still, I had a good time and I believe my conclusions the best free conclusions on the market. Please enjoy.
ANIMAL OF THE MONTH
The Snow Lion!
Habitat: New York, London, Tokyo, Berlin
Diet: Ritz crackers, tea
Endangered? No, there are countless Snow Lions.
Features: Snow lions are typically white with a green or turquoise mane and roughly the size of a large microwave oven. They may emanate as small dogs.
Characteristics: Snow Lions are playful, joyful animals known for their power and strength. They serve as protectors for special persons. It is said that the roar of a Snow Lion can cause seven dragons to fall from the sky. While flightless, their feet never touch the ground. The females produce milk from their paws.
What is the difference between the Snow Lion and the Snow Leopard? Snow Leopards have an average lifespan of 15-18 years. Snow Lions are indestructible.
Android or iPhone: Who’s the Real Sheeple?
I was listening to a podcast recently in which the two hosts were talking about Android and iPhone users when one, business writer and NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway, said the most outrageous thing: “Android is a signal that life just hasn’t worked out the way you’d hoped.”
Haha! It was obviously ridiculous. But I have to admit, I harbor my own bias. The last time I tried online dating, for example, my heart always sank a little if the first text that a gentleman sent came in the form of that little green bubble which signifies to us iPhone users that the sender has an Android phone.
"This will never work," I'd tell myself, having never even met the man. "We are on different planets. He lives on Planet Android, where no one gets my jokes."
Where did I get this idea? Have I been brainwashed by Apple? Or was my bias an accurate assessment—unconsciously formed but based on real experience?
A Google search turned up a silly survey of iPhone and Android users. And according to this poll, there are indeed sharp distinctions.
It found that iPhone users send a lot more texts (58 per day vs. 26 for Android users) and spend more time on their phone in general. They have more close friends, are more likely to go out on weekends, are more likely to choose dramas over cop shows and are more likely to prefer dogs to cats.
iPhone users also take twelve selfies per day on average compared to seven a day for the Android crowd. (Just an aside—WTF!?! Even one selfie a day is one selfie too many.)
When it comes to $$$, meanwhile, the survey found that iPhone users earn 40% more than their Android counterparts and spend twice as much on gadgets, clothes and makeup.
So there you have it! According to this poll, iPhone users are extraverted, free-spending, narcissist party monsters. The Android users, meanwhile, are all home binge-watching Law & Order with their extended cat families.
But this survey did not satisfy me. While it might say something about the general population, it did nothing to quantify my own experience.
It was time for an investigation. First, I created a spreadsheet populated with the names of the last 100 people with whom I'd exchanged a text message, noting what kind of phone they use. Then I scored each person on several scales to determine how my iPhone friends compare, on average, to my Android friends.
The first thing I observed, after creating my little chart, is that my social circle is lousy with Appleheads. Of the last 100 people who sent me a text, 72% used an iPhone.
Nationally, by contrast, iPhone's market share is 51%—it overtook Android in the U.S. for the first time last fall. And globally, iPhone's market share is just 28%.
I also did a little survey of CAFÉ ANNE readers in the last issue.
Not only do I have an iPhone social circle, it turns out, I write for an iPhone crowd. Among CAFÉ ANNE readers, iPhone users outnumber Android folks two-to-one.
So I’m living in an iPhone bubble. Still, some of my best friends are Android. No, really! Scanning my spreadsheet and considering the Android users, it struck me that with few exceptions, they were all people I really love. Or at least enjoy.
So why do I maintain the vague impression that planet Android is somehow inferior? Who are these Android people, really?
I know what you're thinking: "WHO CARES? It's just a PHONE."
That is correct! However, as a species, we humans are hopelessly wired to seize on easy identifiers to evaluate our fellows. And to a brain that naturally delights in lazy classification strategies, a person's choice of cell phone may be the easiest and laziest signifier of them all.
The system is simple and completely binary. Your neighbor may be gender fluid, pansexual, mixed-race and politically eclectic, but when it comes to their phone, you can still put the person in a neat little bucket and draw ridiculous conclusions. You’re either Apple or Android, and that's that.
And when phone choice is the only context clue, I tend to dismiss an Android user as more likely to be, you know, just a regular Joe.
But what happens when I try to quantify my own experience? Does the evidence support my bias?
To analyze my social circle by phone choice, I rated each person in my spreadsheet on three different factors—the traits that most matter to me when I’m choosing who to spend time with.
The first is Originality. And by this I don't mean that someone is an outlandish "non-conformist" with a bunch of nonsense tattoos. I don't care if you're a corporate lawyer or a circus performer. But I do like a person who has done the hard work of arriving at their own conclusions and life choices rather than borrowing someone else's ideas.
The second is Sensibility—do we appreciate things in a similar way? Can I talk freely, without having to provide a lot of background explanation or reassure the person every 30 seconds that I'm not actually being serious?
The last category is Overall Value as a Person. Sure, I believe every human is infinitely valuable and has infinite potential. Meanwhile, at different points in their lives, some people tend to behave in ways that are kind, responsible and productive while others are soul-sucking monsters of destruction everywhere they go. Haha! This has nothing to do with how much I like a person, of course. Some of my favorite people are horrific human beings. But I do have my subjective opinions about how much a person is adding to the party as opposed to hogging all the cheese dip and pissing in the punch.
Rating my friends was not as fun as I thought it would be, by the way. In fact, it was an uncomfortable and somewhat painful process, especially when it came to the “Overall Value” category. I felt like I was doing something very wrong. But one must suffer for science.
And I got some interesting findings!
When it came to Originality, I was surprised to find little difference between Android and iPhone. The Android users scored 7.2 on average. The iPhone average was 7.5.
On Sensibility, the iPhoners DID perform better, scoring a 7.0 on average, compared to 5.8 for the Androids. This seemed to confirme my intuition that a random iPhone person was more likely to be on my wavelength than a random Android person.
The iPhoners also came out ahead in the Overall Human Value category, scoring 6.5 on average, compared to 5.6 for the Android set.
But that's just half the story.
Examine the data closer, I realized something weird: the Android folks were 40% more likely to have a very high or very low score in at least one category. They were the ones snagging more of the ones and twos. But they were also more likely to be scoring nines and tens. They were, in fact, far more likely to be extreme.
My inescapable conclusion? The iPhone folks in my life are, on average, more average!
This was very funny to me because for decades, Apple has marketed itself as the choice of creative geniuses everywhere. Never was this suggested with less subtlety than in the company's famous television commercial titled, "The Crazy Ones."
In this ad, over black-and-white video clips of total nut jobs like Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Amelia Earhart, a mysterious narrator makes a solemn verbal toast:
"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them—but the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."
The message, of course, was that Apple supported you in being crazy too—crazy enough to buy a $2000 laptop!
Apple has since backed off this message, perhaps because even Tim Cook understands that if the majority of Americans "think different," society will collapse. But the association between Apple and independent thinking lingers on.
Does this bear out in real life? Not according to own my analysis of my own social circle. So then I wondered, what do the Apple and Android users in my life have to say for themselves?
When I posted the Android vs. iPhone poll last week, I asked readers to leave a comment or send an email to explain their phone choice and what it says about them. I also surveyed 20 friends (by text, of course) asking the same questions. Boy did I get an earful!
Among iPhone users, the number one consideration cited for their phone choice was ease of use—their iPhone OS is friendly and familar.
"It feels comfortable and cozy to use," wrote reader Jenn B. "The Android interface just feels unpleasant and clunky."
Some said they had considered switching to Android, but dreaded the learning curve. "iPhone, simply because that's what I first got in 2015, and now I feel like I couldn't get used to a new phone design," said another reader.
Many iPhone users also cited peer pressure as a primary factor.
My pal Sue H. admitted her boyfriend's son pressed her into buying an iPhone. "I honestly have no idea what the heck this says about me!!" she wrote. "Maybe that I’m a pushover? A pushover for tech pressure? A sucker willing to spend inordinate amounts on phones?!?!?!!! Who the heck knows…"
My friend Sandra in Brooklyn said that while her computer is a PC, she uses an iPhone so she can FaceTime with her grandchildren, who have iPads: "I do think Androids are perfectly fine and more affordable," she said, "and I would switch if not for my grandkids."
Several iPhone users cited Apple's iMessage texting app, which displays iPhone texts in blue while Android texts show up in green—and often display in wonky ways.
"My whole family has them, so I want to be able to text in blue with them—practical conformist. They’re clearly not better in any particular way, but the marketing works," wrote Kyle in Brooklyn.
"There's nothing like having iPhone users shame non-iPhone users for polluting the group chat with their green texts!" added iPhone user Nate. "I have personally experienced this horror and the offender quickly used his work phone, an iPhone, as the number to be added to the main group chat between us friends after some swift backlash!"
And how do the Android user explain themselves?
Many cited price as a factor. "Pound for pound, Apple iPhones cost a whole lot more than Android phones," wrote reader Michael G.
This is no surprise. While you can drop a bundle on an Android phone if you try really hard, there are many Android options available for less than $100. A new iPhone, meanwhile, starts at roughly $400, and the newest models cost more than $1000.
But the most common—and more interesting— reason cited by the Android users in my life was one I did not expect: iPhone backlash.
David in Brooklyn put it best: "I went Android because I heard someone say that Apple is like a prison and I thought 'Hey yeah, that's true!'"
These Android users hate the way Apple makes you buy their special products at their special stores and get special repairs at their special Genius Bar or from their special authorized dealers.
They also love the fact that Android is an open-source platform (whatever that means!) with a more inclusionary product universe.
"Everything Google makes works for everyone, everything Apple makes only works for the herd," said reader Mark D.
The Androiders also find the so-called "Cult of Apple" very annoying.
"Everything about their brand makes my skin crawl," said reader Brian R. "The design philosophy, the ads, the marketing, the 'Genius' bar. If it were a relationship, they would be the partner who says, 'You just don't get me — I'm too different,' right after you break up with them."
And this distaste often extends not just to the company, but to Apple users themselves. "I find iPhone people and Apple people in general to be a bit culty," said my friend Nemira in Connecticut. "It's very "fashion"/status —but everyone has one! So I think my phone says, 'I'm cool but I am not a sheep. I am not afraid to do my own thing!'"
My pal Aaron in Brooklyn remembers that when iPhones were tiny, he bought an Android phone with a big screen. "I cannot begin to list the number of lectures people gave me about how I could not use my phone easily with one hand," he said. "And I just thought, 'Why do you care about what I am doing in my personal life?' Honestly, it was super weird and off putting. It was all the more amusing when Apple realized how much market share they were losing and started offering larger phones themselves. Then, all of a sudden iPhone fanatics were boasting about how their screens were 1/10-inch inch bigger than mine, and again, I just thought it was pathetic."
I surprised when I realized that my friend Upstate Allen had switched to Android. He was the first person I knew to buy an iPhone, back in 2006. In fact, Allen was the reason I bought one myself and never looked back.
When I asked Allen why he went Android, he said it was because Apple "increasingly seems like a weird liberal cult...Like a statement I don’t always want to be making. Using an Apple product is like saying 'We believe Love is Love, Science is real, Darwin was right…or whatever that Liberal list is. But I don’t want a brand to say all that for me. I just want a good camera, and Google Pixel cameras are awesome."
So have things flipped? Are the Android users now the "crazy ones"? Do I have to adjust my biases? I posed this question to David.
"Yes," he replied. "Apple is definitely the ‘default' choice for most of the people I know."
This is all nonsense, of course, because the real rebels are the folks who have no cell phone at all—and that's just 3% of folks in the U.S. I'd love to know who these people are.
They are, unfortunately, to reach. Know someone without a cell phone I could interview for a future issue? Please drop me a note: email@example.com.
Meanwhile, I’ve got no intention of going Android myself. I’ve got too much invested in the Apple Universe. And knowing how things work, in roughly ten years, this will probably make me a crazy rebel again.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“George Santos walks into a bar. No he didn’t.”
CAFÉ ANNE is a free weekly newsletter created by Brooklyn journalist Anne Kadet. Subscribe to get the latest issue every Monday!
I strongly urge you to read the iconic 1996 essay by Umberto Eco on the Mac and DOS operating systems, which rings true to this day:
I’m too far down the apple rabbit hole I think, though I did build a PC recently which feels like a very android move.
An interesting question for me is: would u rather date an iPhone person or android person? And I’d say right now, android! Feels like the slacker misfit weirdo phone. Yea those ppl might be nuts but they might also be the coolest.
Also did u read about the kids using flip phones? https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/15/style/teens-social-media.amp.html
I’m gonna get one I think