And we know how to use Unix, too.
July 12, 2002 4:14 PM   Subscribe

And we know how to use Unix, too. Nielsen/NetRatings study finds that Mac users are better educated and make more money than their Wintel counterparts. More fuel for the platform wars...
posted by Chief Typist (44 comments total)

 
and make more money

Then the categorization makes sense, since Macs are more expensive.
posted by Succa at 4:19 PM on July 12, 2002


Well, I guess it's good to know that I'm a lower-class, less money making, less web savvy dork since I use a PC instead of the oh-so-fabulous Mac. Blah blah blah...

Does it say anything about the much bigger egos of Mac people?? :)
posted by aacheson at 4:23 PM on July 12, 2002


Yep. Been saying it for years. Smarter people prefer smarter tools, and will pay the premium necessary in order to use them.
posted by Fofer at 4:26 PM on July 12, 2002


Sure Succa, but the "58 percent more likely than the overall online population to build their own Web page" part points to issues deeper than the sticker price.

You know, Apple *could* release a non-firewire, non-dvd burning, non-iTunes, non-iMovie, non-iTools, non-iPhoto poor quality machine in boring beige and get the price all the way down to $500. But then it wouldn't be a Mac.
posted by jragon at 4:28 PM on July 12, 2002


Jragon, Yeah but then you could download most of the comparible programs from the web and it would be a better MAC, Stronger, Faster, more ... etc, etc...
posted by Elim at 4:37 PM on July 12, 2002


Chief Typist, you, sir, are a troublemaker, and are guilty of trying to fan the flames of an unwinnable holy war. You should be ashamed of yourself.

A hammer is a hammer.
posted by crunchland at 4:42 PM on July 12, 2002


Macs have long been expensive, even before they were good. iTunes et al don't seperate "Mac" from "non-Mac". I moved away from Macs because they were too expensive...in 1995.

And ease of building webpages is not necessarily a telling statistic. What about building good webpages? Have they measured that yet? The correlation is empty. Computing != building web pages, nor does computing == games, spreadsheets, or DVD-ripping. They're all part of a greater whole.

Argue for the Mac with real evidence all you like. The chip architecture is better, the OS is better in many ways, the platform meets the needs of lots of people. But if I were to come here and say "The genitalia of PC users have been measured to be 35% larger than those of Mac users", would you switch? No. It's an arbitrary distinction based on demographics rather than on facts. Use whatever platform suits you (the general you), and don't assume that if someone uses a different platform, they're stupid, uneducated, and unendowed.
posted by Succa at 4:54 PM on July 12, 2002


Elim, no not really. I've used a lot of jukeboxes and iTunes is the best for what I need to do. There's nothing close to iMovie or iDVD. iPhoto is great for what it does (organize photos) even though it can't do photoshoppy things.

Windows 3.1 is comparable to WindowsXP, that doesn't give it the same level of quality. When dealing with an OS, which can do an infinite number of things, I'd rather go for quality first rather than pay for it over time. Hammers, I could care less. They only do two things.
posted by jragon at 4:55 PM on July 12, 2002


jragon, I don't think a PC has been beige for the past three years. Of course, beige was the color of the first Mac (I got a MacPlus in the garage to back me up), back when most PCs were off-white (I got a Beltron XT in the garage to back me up).

The study sounds flawed. Macs are much better for web development if you're talking about web sites, but most web applications run off of Linux machines, which are half of the "Wintel" combo.

Also, families take up a large part of Wintel sales and they use it to surf and do email, write reports for school and for work.... Macs are less likely to become family PCs because of the prohibitive price and lack of software, especially entertainment software. Does this mean people who buy family computers are poor and uneducated.

It's a crappy study.

Personally, I'd have both, but since I can't, I'll take the cheaper one that I can do everything in and download open-source software for... (Darwin isn't THAT developed ... YET.. oh, and when it does, I'll have that thing running on an Intel platform, because it can).
posted by linux at 4:56 PM on July 12, 2002


Yeah, but have you ever seen those cool hammers with the special force-absorbing handles that reduce 'bounce-back', and the magnetic head for holding nails in place? Sure, they cost a little more, but I'm willing to pay extra for better performance.

Jragon, Yeah but then you could download most of the comparible programs from the web and it would be a better MAC, Stronger, Faster, more ... etc, etc...

You can download firewire ports and DVD-burning Superdrives from the web? Wow.

Oh, and it's Mac, not MAC. It's not an acronym. Sorry to pick nits, but that's a pet peeve of mine.
posted by toddshot at 4:58 PM on July 12, 2002


Come on, folks, back to comments on the study, not the eternal PC-Mac war that, really, is a poor way to spend time.
posted by linux at 5:01 PM on July 12, 2002


Toddshot, or anyothers, Someone tell me you cant get dvd burners for BSD? or you really need Firewire? can't find XMMS or Gimp and for "pennies on the dollar"?

Then again you do have to know how to use it, But if your smart enough to get a Mac-lite then you can probably ace through the recompile for darwin..
posted by Elim at 5:05 PM on July 12, 2002


Come on, folks, back to comments on the study, not the eternal PC-Mac war

That's easy for someone named "linux" to say, isn't it? Heh.

I don't see any purpose to this thread outside of a PC-Mac war. The title of this article is "Are Mac users smarter?" The only way to make it blunter is to say "Are PC users dumber?" What do you expect?

(not that I have anything wrong with PC-Mac wars...they're kind of fun)
posted by Succa at 5:06 PM on July 12, 2002


I could also say SGI users are smarter than both Mac and PC users.

Really, Mac users are dedicated people who probably use it for their job and it just carries over to their home life. I don't know anyone with a mac who isn't involved in design or film. As the failure of the Cube showed, Macs aren't on the same level as the PC. It's like comparing apple and oranges, their customers are in two different markets (for the most part).
posted by geoff. at 5:13 PM on July 12, 2002


My guess is if you adjusted for system cost you would see the demographic data are either equivalent or favoring PC users since the price equivalent PC is wickedly overpowered indicating either money to burn or serious computation work.

What you are seeing is the non-shocking correlation between education and personal wealth being confused with Mac ownership.
posted by srboisvert at 5:28 PM on July 12, 2002


not that I have anything wrong with PC-Mac wars...they're kind of fun

In a repetitive, 1984 kind of way.
posted by crunchland at 5:35 PM on July 12, 2002


crunchland, I'm not trying to fan any flames .. I just found it interesting that this study confirms suspicions I've always had. This discussion reeling out of control is unavoidable (and totally predictable, hence my comment in the post.)

Another suspicion: a majority of the people who say "my tool is best" have never used the other guy's tool long enough to make that statement.

I'm fortunate to have both tools at my disposal. They are not the same: each has its place for the task at hand.

With the advent of Mac OS X, and its Unix underpinnings, the Mac has become a much more versatile tool. And, dare I say it, cheaper too (compare the price of Hummingbird eXceed or Reflection X to the price of XFree86 and you'll see what I mean.)

Plus, it's fun to see the expressions on people's faces when they see a Mac administering Solaris via X Windows. Makes them think twice about the value of the tool...
posted by Chief Typist at 5:37 PM on July 12, 2002


Mac users being smarter -- that goes against all the research I've previously encountered.

Seriously though, I think the article might be useful to show to people who don't test their web sites on Mac browsers, especially because of the "slightly more likely to buy goods online" part.
posted by c3o at 5:42 PM on July 12, 2002


Mac's are more expensive, therfore the average income of people who buy them will be higher. Most computer ralated jobs that tend to use Macs (graphic design, advertising, film) also tend to be high-paying, while most computer jobs that tend to use PCs (secretary, data entry, everyone with a desk) tend not to be so high-paying, which also skews the results. On top of that, most schools use Macs, which might or might not affect the education statistic.

I still want both.
posted by Nothing at 5:54 PM on July 12, 2002


but of course let me point out simple supply and demand -- it makes perfect sense that Mac developers get paid more, there are fewer Mac developers and their field is more of a niche.

btw, nothing against Mac users -- I'm a PC guy myself and it infuriates me when I have to work on a Mac, but I'm all for their branding and product design, and would give unholy amounts of money to get a cinema display...
posted by LuxFX at 6:33 PM on July 12, 2002


The true lowdown on Wintel money matters...
posted by Mack Twain at 7:48 PM on July 12, 2002


You know, Apple *could* release a non-Firewire, non-dvd burning, non-iTunes, non-iMovie, non-iTools, non-iPhoto poor quality machine in boring beige and get the price all the way down to $500. But then it wouldn't be a Mac.

What do software and color have to do with whether or not it's a Mac? Apple could sell CRT IMacs today for that price if they didn't have the profit margins they did.

Anyway, This is pretty pointless. Apple is a specialist, the people who buy Macs care about their computers. Their are a lot of PC users who care about computers, but if a person doesn't care about their computer then they will buy a PC. People who aren't rich (which is correlated with education) wouldn't waste their money on Macs anyway.

Finally, the very fact that someone would even bother to make these claims is part of the reason I will never, ever, send any money apple's way.

Mac users are arrogant and annoying.
posted by delmoi at 9:01 PM on July 12, 2002


I bet people who drive Lexuses (Lexi?) are have more education (!= smarter) and make more money than Honda drivers. Doesn't get Lexus drivers where they're going any faster or safer than Honda drivers. Ohh, leather accoutrements, poofing windows. Worth a 50% premium to some, I guess.
posted by mlinksva at 9:16 PM on July 12, 2002


Two people have asked about what iTunes and other iApps have to do with the Mac. Simple: they're free and they come with the Mac. They're made by Apple. It's part of the bundle, and adding all those features (most noticebly firewire and a good video program like iMovie) make a huge difference for price.

Mlinksva, you're right. About cars.
posted by jragon at 9:48 PM on July 12, 2002


I've been a Mac user for 15 years. I know UNIX, use both sides of my brain, make almost 200k a year and am a chick. Go figure....and I owe it all to my Mac!!!!
posted by Sonserae at 11:56 PM on July 12, 2002


I've been a Mac user for 15 years. I know UNIX, use both sides of my brain, make almost 200k a year and am a chick. Go figure....and I owe it all to my Mac!!!!

Hmmm. I earn about a tenth of your salary, run Gnu/Linux, and am bemused that anyone can "owe it all" to any single thing - particularly an inanimate object. Go figure.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:10 AM on July 13, 2002


I've been using PCs exclusively in industry for a decade and this Dell at home for about three...and I really, really miss the Mac. From 1992-1996 I worked in a Mac environment creating and editing documentation, and I liked it much, much better than the PC world. And so far, that pretty much includes the Linux GUI environments (KDE and Gnome) as well as every flavor of Windows I've touched (all of them but XP and 98ME).

I think the "lies, damned lies, and statistics" metaphor applies here, and the experience of one platform vs. another is way too subjective for most comparisions to hold water. But if I ever can justify blowing a wad of cash on an iBook, baby, I'm so there.

(Even though it's really more money than I ought to spend on a 'puter.
Even though I'd be buying a lot of new software.
Even though I think Steve Jobs is a hosehead.)
posted by alumshubby at 5:37 AM on July 13, 2002


Apple folks seem to have a bit of an inferiority complex....
posted by zeoslap at 8:43 AM on July 13, 2002


With the advent of Mac OS X, and its Unix underpinnings, the Mac has become a much more versatile tool. And, dare I say it, cheaper too (compare the price of Hummingbird eXceed or Reflection X to the price of XFree86 and you'll see what I mean.)

I suspect that turning the Macintosh into a NeXT was probably the best thing that the company ever did. One of the big reasons why I gave up on Macintosh was because of its long period of operating system hell in which the old ugly operating system went belly up, the internal operating system development cycle been promising the next best thing for two years and turned up with absolutely nothing before folding. At that point, I really needed to get a new computer because more and more software was becoming incompatible with the Quadra, and I could not justify spending a few thousand dollars for a platform with the same crappy operating system (and none on the horizon) when I could install Linux on a $500 machine.

I also admit that another primary consideration I prefer the AMD platform is because it permits me to do a rolling upgrade on the installment plan (buy a part every month in install it). The price issue is pretty important. The Macintosh just seems like a bit of a luxury item and with my budget I can't justify spending $1600 on Macintosh when I can build a better performing system for $1000.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:31 AM on July 13, 2002


zeoslap: odd, then, that people with perfectly serviceable laptops running Windows keep ogling my PowerBook...
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:50 AM on July 13, 2002


I've been a Mac user for 15 years. I know UNIX

You know BSD. Unix, like other *nix come in different flavors and are sometimes hard to adjust to with their differences. Are you saying that you are proficient with Solaris? Probably not.
posted by samsara at 11:01 AM on July 13, 2002


Saying that apple users are smarter and make more money than pc users is like saying that BMW owners are smarter and make more money than ford owners.

Well, no shit, sherlock.

They're significantly more expensive, so of course people that own them make more money. Any study that compares the two must eliminate variables to be worth anything. To compare mac users to PC users, you need to find people that spend as much on PCs as people spend on Macs. Any study that doesn't narrow down the variables to a known few isn't worth the paper that it's printed on.

Give me $1500 and I will build you a more powerful PC than your $1500 Mac. It will have firewire, a flat screen display, and a processor that blows a comparably priced Mac out of the water.

My problem with Macs isn't the OS, it's the hardware. It's too freaking expensive. The day I can install OSX on a box built out of commodity parts, is the day that I will *consider* being a mac user. Until then, forget it. I don't need to pay hundreds more to get X on my machine. Linux is free, thank you very much.

And anyone that complains about the stability of windows or the difficulty in getting a windows box setup needs to consider this: The reason installing system software on a mac is so easy is precisely the reason that they are so bloody expensive: Apple builds the hardware. Apple has 100% control over the hardware that goes into a Mac. That reduces compatibility problems to just about nil.

When I have the money saved up for my next machine, I can decide betwen spending a pile of money on a mac, or I can spend (at most) 2/3 as much and an afternoon of my time, and have a PC that meets or exceeds any Mac on the market.

Guess which I'll pick.

Oh, one more thing that really irks me about Apple is their new campaign: the people in the "switch" ads are morons. It's a special kind of moron that is unable to figure out how to use any modern version of windows.

Apple is a software company masquerading as a hardware company run by magalomaniac. The day when Jobs steps down (or dies) and they get some sense and become a pure software company is the day I will consider running an Apple OS on my machines.

Until then, I'll be playing my *new* video games and editting music and film on my PC.
posted by jaded at 11:08 AM on July 13, 2002


Saying that apple users are smarter and make more money than pc users is like saying that BMW owners are smarter and make more money than ford owners.
[...]
Give me $1500 and I will build you a more powerful PC than your $1500 Mac.
— jaded

"Give me $40,000 and I will build you a more powerful Ford than your $40,000 BMW." See how silly that is? Any sensible person would still rather have the BMW, because there's more to desire in a car or a computer than power, there's also elegance, usability, reliability, and lots of other stuff that BMWs and Macs have, and Fords and PCs don't.
posted by nicwolff at 12:18 PM on July 13, 2002


Any sensible person...

Some unsensible people do wonder why anyone bothers with $40,000 cars at all. But I guess they just think different.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:39 PM on July 13, 2002


This just in: 99% of people that eat caviar are wealthier than those that eat at McDonalds. News at 11.

These kind of statistics prove nothing.

zeoslap: odd, then, that people with perfectly serviceable laptops running Windows keep ogling my PowerBook...

odd, then, that people I know with perfectly serviceable Powerbooks are ogling the new line of PC laptops (P4 1.7Ghz, GeForce4, firewire, bluetooth, 1600x1200 resolution... and for less than a Ti). We could pointlessly argue like this for years.
posted by mkn at 12:43 PM on July 13, 2002


Some unsensible people do wonder why anyone bothers with $40,000 cars at all. But I guess they just think different. — andrew cooke

Hey, I drive a 1972 Volvo. But if you were choosing between a BMW 530i and whatever you could make of a Mustang GT with 20 grand, wouldn't you take the BMW?
posted by nicwolff at 1:00 PM on July 13, 2002


We could pointlessly argue like this for years.

Oh, sure. We have been, for nearly two decades now.

It doesn't matter whether you can get a PC with similar specifications for less money. It doesn't matter whether Apple ever regains a double-digit market share. And it really doesn't matter that you can buy an Intel-compatible processor with a higher clock rate than the top-of-the-line PowerPC chip. That's not the point - if Apple were in the business of building better PCs, there'd be no reason for them to exist.

Anyone who gripes about Macs being expensive or different or whatever is missing the point: if price and megahertz are what matter most, you're not supposed to be interested in a Mac.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:22 PM on July 13, 2002


I am surprised to see that some obvious flaws with this study have not been mentioned.

Take your average non-savvy, non-computer owning, family, who says "what the fuck, let's get ourselves a computer!" 9 times out of 10 (not statistical, mind you) they are going to get a Wintel machine. They are going to cruise up to the local Gateway country store or go to "that computer shop up the road...what is it, CompUSA?" and get themselves a Compaq with the pretty colored plastic covering the CD-ROM bay, and all that software to make home calendars with junior's baseball team picture on the front, etc.

Long and short of it is, this study is flawed for the very reason that the entry-level populace is way more likely to get themselves a Windows box. I have 22 year old brothers (twins, they are) who think that AOL is the Internet. They are buying laptops for law school this fall, and what are they going to buy? A Gateway, or at my insistance, maybe a Dell. (What can I say, I have had good experiences with my Inspiron 8000).

I know exactly one person who knows next to little about computers who went out and bought a Mac, and she bought (surprise!) the first model of the iMacs that came out, undoubtedly because it was cute. Her next computer? A Compaq. I think this report is silly.
posted by adampsyche at 2:18 PM on July 13, 2002


It's more of a left brain, right brain thing (as originally understood). Some people don't value aesthetics or intuition; they're even threatened by them. Those are the people who are blind and indifferent to the superiority of the Mac. And no amount of convincing is going to change their mind.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:08 PM on July 13, 2002


No, PP. As your post so amply demonstrates, it's a one person wanting to feel superior to another kind of thing. It's to do with marketing, self image, and all the rest of that sorry mess that makes a depressing number of people confuse what they own with who they are.

And nicwolff - I choose to not have a car at all.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:49 PM on July 13, 2002


Yeah... can I just say that the above statement does not reflect the views of all Mac users?
posted by toddshot at 11:51 PM on July 13, 2002


...a depressing number of people confuse what they own with who they are.

And nicwolff - I choose to not have a car at all.
— andrewcooke

Wow, Andy, you beat me! Wait, is there some way I could have less than no car? Yes! The '72 Volvo I drive actually belongs to my folks! That's both economical and slightly humiliating! I win!

I think it's pretty funny that you've confused what you don't own with what you are. Who wants to feel superior? Oh look, it's you.
posted by nicwolff at 8:17 AM on July 14, 2002


i just like being able to buy all the parts and build the pc myself - it's like a big lego set... and boy do i love legos! i grew up using macs and having these arguements with all the dos people but when the time came to buy my own pc... i had to go with a wintel for price and compatability reasons. i like having the option to purchase 95% of the software on the market without worrying about if it'll work on my machine. and i know you can run it on the mac but... why bother with the extra hassle.

i can't see any correllation between income and computer brand at all - but i guess you could say that mac users are maybe more intelligent (on average) than pc users b/c you at least have to put forth the effort to learn a less common o/s just to use the mac and you have to brush up on your overall knowledge of the industry so you can argue with the upper crust of pc users.

i don't care much for the "switch" adds - they are kinda insulting. who cares anyway? it's not the computer... it's the user. it's like the difference between the guy who has the mega drum set with 20 cymbols but that can't play crap and the guy that rocks out on the lone snare... if you really put your machine to use then you can do some cool stuff but otherwise you might as well put it in a glass case.
posted by ggggarret at 8:34 AM on July 14, 2002


"Give me $40,000 and I will build you a more powerful Ford than your $40,000 BMW." See how silly that is? Any sensible person would still rather have the BMW, because there's more to desire in a car or a computer than power, there's also elegance, usability, reliability, and lots of other stuff that BMWs and Macs have, and Fords and PCs don't.

Ok, lets go through those one at a time.

Elegance, am I the only one that finds the Macintosh see-through aesthetic to be a bit dated? Perhaps its my punk-goth roots but you can't do better than the basic black case. The UI aesthetics really bug me including the single menu bar attached to the screen rather than the window. But then again, elegance is cheap and can be had on any platform.

Usability? I'm becoming less and less convinced that there is a single standard for usability. I'm actually experimenting with giving up WYSIWYG for an old unix-style WYTIWYM typesetting system. Cranked out 2000 words yesterday in DragonPad (a speech-recognition enabled notepad) and in less than a half-hour of learning the system cranked out a perfectly formatted apa manuscript draft.

Reliability? Running Windows XP and had two crashes in the last 3 months, both times the result of power falures (I really need to get a UPS for home.) Windows 2000 at work has had no crashes since it was installed last year. The primary reason I gave up on Macintosh 5 years ago was it's piss-poor operating system was randomly trashing my work once a day. Of course its more reliable since they finally purchased a real operating system.

So again, I can build the hardware for less, even including a more beautiful case. I can install a beautiful and usable windows manager for free. I can install the reliable operating system for free. What exactly is worth paying for?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:23 AM on July 16, 2002


« Older 21 songs plus ephemera.   |   Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments