What I mean is that perhaps the comparison between an iphone and a vacation isn't the best. Except maybe for a person who already had a smartphone and then bought a new iphone, in which case the iphone does not introduce that many new opportunities for him/her.
A better example might be a pair of $300 shoes (pffffff-hahaha funny) vs a vacation. These shoes don't lead to many new opportunities except the ability to get compliments, and go to some dance and feel jealous stares and open adoration, or something; don't ask me. Let's say, a trip to another country provides opportunities to learn and grow as a person, and awesome memories, while the shoes provide some happiness at some dance that will probably be forgotten in the long run. Even just a vacation of nothing but lying in the sun could provide a stress-reduction effect that improves one's health in the long-run. But then it might depend on the person, depends on the material item, and depends on the experience. For some people, shoes would be better than a vacation - but maybe only if they lead to a lifestyle change/improvement, rather than being thrown in a closet and taken out once a year.
Research doesn't have to be revolutionary in order to be worthwhile - in psychology, sociology, social sciences in general, etc, a lot of research seems obvious in hindsight, but it wasn't so obvious before we had a name for it. And still isn't obvious to people in everyday life; I mean, who thinks "wow, this is a prime example of the bandwagon effect" when in the appropriate situation. Less people than we would think. I'm mean I'm absolutely certain no upstanding intelligent citizen from TypologyCentral would ever fail to notice every instance of every psychological concept in one's own life.
...Imma go read the article now.