Comment columnist, Olivia Horncastle, offers her 3rd article on the domination of MacBook’s on Exeter campus.
Looking around in your lectures you see a sea of apple MacBook’s. Apple gadgets are filling every spare corner of the lecture theatre. The odd other laptop may occasionally be perched sad and lonely in comparison on the rows of tables, but the owner usually looks sheepish and judged whilst typing on their hp or their clumpy or Lenovo, when all those around them type silently upon the sleek silver MacBook’s. At the end of the lecture, everyone takes out their phone. More apple logos. Some people will then plug in their earphones and turn the music up on their ipods. More apple logos. The odd person might even smugly turn on their apple watch. Even more apple logos! For many it does truly appear as if apple is taking over the world! But where has this social phenomena and pressure of owning apple products come from?
Who would have thought that adding a very simple logo of an apple onto the back of a laptop would double, or even triple, the value? If we all ask ourselves why students at Exeter have become so obsessed with the little apple sign on their technology, we would probably be horrified by the answer. Some people do debate that MacBook’s and apple laptops are better, faster and sleeker, whilst many who have felt socially obliged and even pressurised to follow everyone else and buy one. Many of these people have then become disillusioned from the sleek apple illusion.
Sure, apple products are very aesthetically pleasing. My clumpy (but practical and reliable) hp laptop does look boring and old (even being very new) compared to the delicate MacBook airs. But at least I can play CDs and DVDs! And at least I can use USB sticks and can turn the volume up properly. So do people really buy apple products and apple merchandise because it is actually better? Or it is because of the social pressures that now mean that those without apple MacBook’s feel poor and slightly like plebs. A telling YikYak today of ‘Finding a laptop in the sanctuary that isn’t Mac is more difficult than finding Wally’ that had over thirty ‘up’ when I had last checked was very telling. People at Exeter buy Macbooks to fit in and to feel socially accepted by their choice of brand.
The amount of people complaining about their MacBook’s always amazes me. The people who ask Christmas after Christmas for the latest thousand pound MacBooks are often the ones who first start moaning about the struggles of having to convert word documents. Surely a laptop that does not even work with word documents cannot be so popular? And very few people genuinely now believe that iPhones are better than the latest other models of smartphones. We all know that other smartphones- such as Sony- provide better quality phones so why do we continue to buy into the need to publicly display that we own apple products?
All students struggle for money, so why do we have to put pressure on each other to buy the latest, most expensive technology if it is not even worth the money? I mean sure, there are those die-hard apple fans who will completely disagree with everything I say and will always love apple as a brand no matter what they produce or what they charge. But for most of us, do we really need to buy into the socially constructed view that apple MacBook’s or iPhone or iPod are the best quality out there? I mean we all know that if you want a phone that will last longer than most mortgages, then you should buy a Nokia, and if you want a phone with a good camera you should get a Sony.
Speaking to friends who haven’t brought into the apple craze they all admit that they tend to judge the people with the apple laptops in their lectures and assume that they live in Holland Hall and feel too privileged to just use pen and paper (no stereotypes at all.) But there is also the assumption that those not using MacBook’s are being judged for not owning an apple laptop.
There is then of course the overpriced nature of Apple products. I don’t want to hate on such a big corporation but Apple generated approximately $625 of revenue from each of the 40 million iPhones it sold in 2009. It generated $164 of revenue for every iPod sold, $1,279 for every Mac, and $665 for every iPad. This shows just how those who buy into apple domination do actually end up paying for the brand and not just for the quality of the product.
Even though I am writing this article on my hp laptop, I do feel a bit like a hypocrite listening to music on my ipod, however I feel like we all just need to stop the social pressures of apple products and acknowledge that they may be very aesthetically pleasing, but they are often not the products that are best for us. So all Exeter students, lecturers and whoever else is reading this, let us try and remember that there are other brands out there and that not having your apple MacBook air on display for all to see does not make you less of a person. You therefore should not feel ashamed for owning a practical laptop whilst sitting in a sea of apple logos.