Harvard students increasingly switching to Apple Macs

“An excited Claire S. Le Goues ’06 purchased the 12-inch, aluminum Macintosh (Mac) Powerbook computer using funds from her summer job. But Le Goues, a computer science major, didn’t earn the money for her new machine by slaving away at an investment banking firm or scooping ice cream for whiney children,” Matthew S. Lebowitz reports for The Harvard Crimson.

“Last summer, Le Goues made the 25-minute drive each day from her home in Cortlandt Manor, NY to a research lab in Hawthorne, NY, where she worked from nine to five as a programmer for International Business Machines (IBM). IBM is one of several producers of personal computers (PCs) that use the Microsoft Windows operating system. These Windows PCs are the main competition for Macs… it was the actions of a fellow IBM employee that finally convinced Le Goues to make the shift last summer,” Lebowitz reports. “One of her co-workers brought a Powerbook with him to work each day, insisting on using it for his work despite the fact that he was employed by the maker of a competing product. ‘I saw that level of devotion, and I was like, ‘Okay – that’s really convincing to me.””

Lebowitz reports, “Le Goues also says that Macs do not require the type of intense security measures that are necessary to protect a Windows PC. On a Windows PC, ‘You have to have all these spyware detectors and run an antivirus program every three days,’ she says. ‘It’s a lot of nonsense.’ She describes these measures as ‘voodoo’ and asserts that ‘there are no viruses for Macs.’ Evoking the image of a full-screen error message familiar to many PC users, she says, ‘There’s no blue screen of death on the Mac…It doesn’t freeze—nothing, it just works.'”

Lebowitz reports, “According to statistics obtained from Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences Computer Services (HASCS), only 32 percent of computers purchased by the Harvard community through the university’s discount computer purchase program this year were Macs—less than half of the number of Windows system purchases. However, Mac usage has been on the rise in recent years. Total purchases of Apple systems increased by 1 percent in Fiscal Year (FY) 2003, 11.9 percent in FY 2004, and 14 percent in FY 2005. A longitudinal examination of the current senior class further elucidates the rise in popularity of Macs among Harvard students. In the fall of their freshman year, only 9 percent of the class of 2005 owned Macs. But by this fall, that number had more than doubled, to 21 percent.”

Full article here.

29 Comments

  1. 21% installed base in the freshman class? 32% of University discount purchases? The article makes that sound paltry, but I think that sounds amazing! Apparently there’s strength in numbers!

    Yay for them!

  2. NoMacForYou,

    A “girl” Harvard student…

    What they say about Mac users must be true… Higher intellegence and more disposable income.

    Which is your excuse little “boy”?

  3. IT departments hate this. The IT department at school and work are really suspicious of mac users. Anytime something goes wrong with the network at work…they always look at me with a suspecting eye. The fools don’t realize that I am the least likely person to bring in something that would cause damage.
    Ignorant fools….
    When they found out I was using my powerbook at work…the retard said..”we don’t support macs”…I said..that’s OK…I rarely have problems. An the ones I do have I can take care of in a few minutes.

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  4. Quote:

    “…only 32 percent of computers purchased by the Harvard community through the university’s discount computer purchase program this year were Macs—less than half of the number of Windows system purchases.”

    *ONLY* 32%!!!

    “However, Mac usage has been on the rise in recent years. Total purchases of Apple systems increased by 1 percent in Fiscal Year (FY) 2003, 11.9 percent in FY 2004, and 14 percent in FY 2005.”

    This is significant.

    “A longitudinal examination of the current senior class further elucidates the rise in popularity of Macs among Harvard students. In the fall of their freshman year, only 9 percent of the class of 2005 owned Macs. But by this fall, that number had more than doubled, to 21 percent.”

    These are future leaders and trend setters.

    “Le Goues says that Macs are also increasing in popularity among the people who actually have some relevant expertise—the students and staff of the computer science department.”

    Again, the people who will make future buying decisions.

    “Macs are completely compatible with Harvard’s wireless network and with pine, with Harvard FTP, with everything you’d need to use here…”

    This is MAJOR! Pine is the university mainframe email system. FTP is the mainframe file transfer protocol. OSX makes using these Unix based mainframe services trivially easy.

  5. I run a PowerBook G4 seemlessly at work on a PC network. I print, share files, backup, and email. It took minutes to be up and running. The PC across the room is in constant need of updates. As far as support, I don’t need any.

    Unix and OSX is beautiful.

  6. I’m one of the lucky ones; my IT department is 99.44% pure (400 Mac clients, 15 XServers, and one PC that’s running something that only one department needs). Our IT department is 4 people:

    Help Desk (non-technical)
    Software Support (my job)
    Hardware tech
    Network/email admin

    Even though we are 4 people for 400 users, we still have alot of free time (our Apple hardware guy has the highest load, go figure)

  7. what exactly does “we don’t support macs” mean? Is it “don’t” or “won’t” or “don’t want to” or “can’t” or “don’t know how”?

    I’ve never worked in IT but i imagine this is a scare tactic — like “don’t expect help if you have trouble with your machine …” Does this then mean that these IT people run around all day helping people with Word and Eudora. If so, then “support” is being used inappropriately because these programs and many others run very much the same way on Macs.

    As an aside, i have not yet had a problem which did not get resolved by a quick trip to the Apple discussions board.

  8. Zeke: “This is MAJOR! Pine is the university mainframe email system. FTP is the mainframe file transfer protocol.”

    Hmm… ftp was a unix protocol (first appeared on BSD 4.2, according to man), which was ported to mainframe. Pine is a text based email client software from UW, which supports POP3 and IMAP. It runs on unix and other OS including Windows/DOS.
    http://www.washington.edu/pine/

  9. s:

    Well put! “We don’t support” is used by hoards of IT departments worldwide as code for “We are ignorant of…”, “We are too lazy to…”, “We only operate within what out shallow University of Phoenix Windows training background permits”, and “We are incompetent boobs.” If I may, I’m going to use your comeback the next time I hear those magic words.

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