The findings show a distinct difference in wealth indicators over the years.
According to the researchers, owning an iPhone gave them a 69.1 percent chance of correctly guessing that a person was in the high-income bracket, or top quartile, of his or her group, such as single adults or couples with dependents.
For example, in 2004, buying a new auto and using Land O'Lakes regular butter implied you were well off, while in 1992 it was owning an automatic dishwasher and buying Grey Poupon Dijon mustard that meant you were among the elite.
"Knowing whether someone owns an iPad in 2016 allows us to guess correctly whether the person is in the top or bottom income quartile 67 percent of the time", they write. The research also suggests that owning an Android phone or using Verizon are a strong indicators of being high-income as well. Meanwhile, owning an iPad has a slightly lower success rate, at 66.9 percent.
Bizarrely, those who use Kikkoman-brand soy sauce were also found to be wealthy, followed by HP printers and faxes, the AT&T phone network, Samsung TVs, Cascade Complete dishwasher detergent and Ziploc bags.
The data is also a reminder of how much things have changed technologically over the years. Back then, the best brand to buy to portray wealth was Grey Poupon Dijon mustard.
It's no surprise that iPhones are now seen as a major indicator of wealth. The most recent data was taken in 2016.
Apple gadgets are famously expensive, with iPads starting at £319 ($417), the latest Apple Watch costing £329 ($427), and a pair of Apple AirPods wireless earbuds retailing at £159 ($206). You could tool around town in an expensive vehicle, wear some fancy duds, live in a giant mansion, or carry an Apple iPhone.
Word to the wise, however: the monetary value of smartphones typically diminish quickly because phone makers, Apple included, have a rapid release cycle for new models.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.