What type of smartphones do the rich and powerful use? What about poor folks? What’s the real difference between these two entirely different classes of products?
Well, the rich use the same smartphones as everyone else. While there are gaudy, luxury smartphones out there — diamond encrusted, in fact — most of those smartphones are actually substantially underpowered compared to a leading tier iPhone or Android phone. And that is what makes smartphones an interesting class equalizer, and have the greatest effect on upper and lower classes.
Why Are Smartphones An Equalizer?
Smartphone companies have concentrated, year after year, on putting the best technology in the hands of the masses. While they could potentially spend money trying to create a dozen $100,000 smartphones that are much faster, slimmer, and lastslonger, it’s not as profitable as creating a $1,000 smartphone that sells a million copies.
And that means that the ultra-rich and the ultra-famous are using the same smartphones as the ordinary person. It’s one of the very few ways in which wealth doesn’t really purchase anything more: whether you wake up today with $100,000 in the bank account or $10,000,000, you’ll probably still have your iPhone — even if that iPhone has some diamonds on it.
For many of the ultra-rich, the idea of having their very own smartphone leads more towards manufacturing their own type of smartphone — as Amazon once did with the Amazon Fire. And, of course, there are complications. Using the same phone technology as everyone else means that the rich and the famous are just as vulnerable to security threats, even though they are a much larger target for those threats.
Smartphones Create Opportunity
Smartphone technology, when introduced into impoverished or under-served areas, can also create opportunity. They are, in essence, a miniature computer. Smartphones can do almost anything a computer can do. People can program on smartphones, especially with keyboard enhancements. They can update images on smartphones. And smartphones are more compact and easy to use than a laptop or desktop computer.
When the first iPhone was announced, it was presented as this mysterious electronic brick that held within it an incredible potential. At the time, it was “just a phone.” But the iPhone cascaded into numerous different technologies that blurred the line between a “phone” and a “computing device.”
That is where we are now: at the precipice of monumental change, with a ubiquitous black square that offers with it untapped and unmired potential. The rich, the powerful, the poor, and the needy, are all able to access the same internet on the same devices, and that is creating unprecedented levels of mobility in areas that need it most.
Of course, a smartphone with WiFi isn’t going to change the lives of the middle class in America. But it will change the lives of those who are in substantially more challenging situations.
The “Luxury” Phones of the Ultra Wealthy
As we mentioned, there are some luxury phones made for the ultra wealthy. But they come with an important caveat. Usually, the technology in the phone is a little older. Even if you’re going to buy a $100,000 phone, you’re probably not going to buy a new one every year.
The most expensive phones in the world include the Falcon ZSupernova, an iPhone 6 that was modified on the third-party market to coat it in cold and decorate it with an immense diamond. This gaudy, high ticket item is not only several generations behind, but costs $48.5 million. Slightly more approachable, the Diamond Crypto Smartphone is a little more than a million. Made from platinum and rose gold, along with fifty diamonds, the smartphone is designed by Aloisson and has encryption technology to keep the phone safe.
Most luxury phones don’t have technology at a high priority. Instead, they’re either reskins of an iPhone (essentially, bedazzled iPhones, but with real diamonds), or they’re made intentionally for the purposes of security and encryption. Indeed, that’s one of the most important reasons to have a “luxury” phone: to keep your secrets, whatever they might be, secure.
Smartphones are an excellent class equalizer, and that’s likely to continue. Apart from those who are the most ostentatious, a traditional iPhone just works. But smartphones are also shaping the way that the upper and lower classes work, and in ways that are likely to become even more extreme as the technology matures.