Thursday, August 12, 2010

The iPhone Really Isn't All That Sexy

sexy iphoneImage by MacQ via Flickr

A fun little data-mining report from online dating site OkCupid is making the rounds in a viral fashion (the only kind of viral activity you want from a dating site). The report highlights a number of fun facts, based on analysis of picture file data and hundreds of thousands of "Who would you date?" picture comparisons.

You're more likely to look attractive in a dating-service photograph if you:
  • Use a real camera instead of a cell phone
  • Limit your use of flash, or do it right with indirect lighting
  • Learn how to control f-stop settings and depth of field

Kodak EasyShare snappers come across as a particularly bad choice of camera, possibly because the low-cost, low-feature combination attracts customers who don't know much about photography technique. Panasonic cameras come out on top by a wide margin, presumably for occupying the exact opposite market position of the Kodaks.

But that's not why you're here, is it? The headline-making conclusion from OkCupid's report is that if your picture was taken by an Apple iPhone, you probably had significantly more sexual partners in your life than those who subject themselves to the cameras of an Android or BlackBerry phone.

If you believe that, you're holding it wrong
There's a lot of coverage of this tidbit out there, but most of it misses the simple fact that it isn't necessarily the smartphone brand of the subject of the picture that's at issue here, but the model of the phone actually taking the picture. Yes, the model could hand over a phone and ask a picture to be taken, but that's not always the case. Moreover, the "experience" part of this equation is not calculated by some quasi-scientific method, but taken from self-reported user profiles.

When all is said and done, I think we can boil it down to this simple statement: people who use an iPhone to take pictures say that they have sex with more people than others. The sleek design and tender-loving user experience of iPhones mesh well with the traditionally artsy Apple clientele; BlackBerry still equals serious business; Android phones might indicate that you're a certain class of nerd. So this self-reported promiscuity could be a reflection of different lifestyles, or varied honesty levels -- or the attractive power of the gadget itself.

Should you buy an iPhone if you want a better sex life, or are iPhone users just overconfident in their own prowess? Let the flame wars begin in the comments below -- and please, keep it safe for work!

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