Whisper it quietly, but after yesterday’s performance against the international titans that are Panama, football might actually be coming home. If England can manage such a magnificent victory against a country of four million and a GDP per capita that’s half of our own, then surely nothing can stop us from... well, you know, beating Brazil and Germany and the teams that are actually good.
The only annoying thing about England's success so far? When you’re a tech website that is written by people who know basically nothing about football, trying to cash in on this by writing about the World Cup is really hard. “If only there was a tech angle”, we thought.
And then it struck us: Let’s find out what phones England’s stars are actually using. That way, if we inadvertently end up in any conversations about football over the next few weeks, we can carefully nudge it towards a topic we actually know something about.
So after a little bit of digging through their Twitter accounts, Gizmodo UK can today reveal that of the 20 players who tweet, all 20 are iPhone users — and a big fat zero appear to choose Android.
Mac OS (Three) Lion
So how did we figure this out? Brilliantly, every tweet sent contains a little bit of metadata revealing the Twitter client you were using to send out your 280 character missives. And so we can see which tweets were sent from “Twitter for iPhone”, “Twitter for Android”, or “Twitter Web Client” (the Twitter website) and so on.
Unfortunately, you can no longer find this out using the Twitter website, but we were able to use the app Tweetbot — which is a billion times better for Twitter anyway — to see this data.
So it was simply a case of checking to see what each player had been using. We managed to find verified Twitter accounts for every player other than Danny Rose, John Stones and Fabian Delph, so we can’t say for sure whether they use iPhone or Android. Heck, maybe they even use Windows Phone. But on the strength of the team mates, we would bet they use iPhones too.
This was actually harder to figure out than you might think, as we had to exercise some human judgement. As the players are some of the most bankable sports stars in the world, all of them clearly had teams of people who manage their social media output.
Numerous tweets are clearly sponsored, or are being done as an obligation to others — such as these:
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) June 5, 2018
— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) February 8, 2018
Given how many players appear to tweet out professionally shot photos of themselves playing football (as opposed to selfies and the usually shitty photos normal people take), we’re guessing that these tweets must also be managed, whether by their clubs or others:
Positive mind Positive vibes pic.twitter.com/aaixsBLXZk
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) June 22, 2018
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) June 24, 2018
So instead, we tried to pick out tweets that appeared to be real, typed by the player on their own phone. Stuff like responses to other people on Twitter, or a casual tweet about whatever non-football related thing the player was doing that weekend. Like these:
— Ashley Young (@youngy18) June 24, 2018
Get well soon SAF wish you a speedy recovery❤️
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 5, 2018
And of these... they were all, exclusively iPhone-sent tweets.
The Curious Case Of Harry Kane
For a moment during our Important Research, we thought that we might have finally found an Android user: none other than England's golden boy Harry Kane. He posted a number of incredibly realistic tweets using Android! Perhaps he has a Pixel 2 and these photos were all taken with the AI-driven portrait mode? Is he the one member of the squad who uses Android? Most of his recent tweets came from an Android device:
— Harry Kane (@HKane) June 8, 2018
Thanks Virat, not a bad start!
— Harry Kane (@HKane) June 19, 2018
Android use would perhaps make sense too. Earlier this year Chinese Android makers Leagoo — who you've definitely never heard of, and we've only barely heard of — launched the Leagoo Power 5 at Mobile World Congress, with Kane as the star guest at the launch. Last year, the company became the "official mobile partner" of Kane's club, Tottenham Hotspur. If you dig around the internet, you can find some dead-eyed photos of Kane pretending to enjoy using their products.
So we'd perhaps wildly speculate that Kane is contractually obliged by his corporate overlords to use a Leagoo phone. And for the most part, he appears to be playing ball. Here he tweeted a video of himself playing golf on a day off — and yes, he stuck to Android:
Taking the Tiger line!
— Harry Kane (@HKane) April 18, 2018
But after a little more digging, it perhaps seems to indicate he's not as much of an Android enthusiast as it may first appear. This tweet came from an iPhone, for example:
— Harry Kane (@HKane) April 8, 2018
Okay, so perhaps this is a sponsored tweet? Someone at Sky wanted him to plug the fact you can watch the golf on there? That'd make sense, right?
— Harry Kane (@HKane) June 1, 2018
Or maybe he just really likes watching golf and tagging in #brands? Who can really tell what is real any more?
So how can we make any assumptions about what sort of phone Kane would truly want to use, in his heart? Here's one of his most personal tweets... sent from iPhone, albeit before the Leagoo phone launched:
— Harry Kane (@HKane) January 26, 2018
(That's not a filter as far as we can tell - he really does have entirely monochrome bedsheets).
— Harry Kane (@HKane) January 21, 2018
This one was from an iPhone too.
So in our official judgement... we would guess that deep-down, Kane is an iPhone man too.
And that's it. We have successfully found a tech angle. In every “real” example we could find, it was iPhones all the way down. Android might be the largest phone OS by volume, but this is yet more evidence of just how thoroughly Apple has captured the rich and famous. Sorry Android, while England might (but probably won't) win the World Cup, you definitely won't win the England team.
James O'Malley is Interim Editor of Gizmodo UK and tweet as @Psythor.