Sep 1, 2010

UVa First-years Choose Macs

According to the University of Virginia’s Office of Information Technology and Communication, undergrads are increasingly choosing Macs for their on-campus computing. During the 2008-09 school year, 43 percent of all UVa first-year students were using a Mac, according to data collected by a corps of residence hall Computing Advisors (CA’s).

The figure represents a continuation of a five-year trend and corresponds to national surveys suggesting that college students are more inclined to bring Macs to campus. Prior to 2004, Mac usage among UVa freshmen hovered between three and four percent (with a small blip to 7 percent in 1997). In 2004, Mac jumped by 4 percent, possibly corresponding to the 2003 release of iTunes on Windows and has been steadily increasing since.

According to Student Monitor, which has been tracking higher education computer purchases for 22 years, Apple and Dell switched positions in the college laptop market in the space of five years. In 2005, 47 percent of students buying laptops chose Dells. In 2010, 47 percent went with Macbooks.

Although surveys suggest that Apples may actually account for as much as 70 percent of the incoming university freshman market, Student Monitor found the following in interviews of 1,200 students on 100 campuses:

• 95% owned at least one computer: 83% owned a laptop, 24% a desktop, 15% both
• Among the laptop owners, 27% owned Macs
• Among the desktop owners, 45% owned a PC and 14% owned Macs
• But, among those who planned to purchase a new computer, 87% planned to buy a laptop of whom 47% planned to buy a Mac.

Why the sudden rush to buy Macs? Some local students point to the “coolness” factor. Others have become familiar with Apple products through iPods and iPhones, both of which are becoming increasingly popular among high school students.

One local student supports Macs because, “I’m tired of Windows including packaged software I don’t want that makes the computer slower than it should be.” UVa freshman Grace Hollis said she bought a Macbook because, “It’s compatible with other Apple products.”

Technologically-savvy students point to the fact that you can run both the Windows and Mac operating systems on the same computer. And rumor has it that the Macbook is less susceptible to viruses.

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