Home > Uncategorized > Are Mac Users Better People?

Are Mac Users Better People?

December 31st, 2007

This is somewhat of a weird idea, almost disturbing–kind of like saying that rich people are more hard-working, or Asian people are naturally better at math. But there have been some stories floating around the web recently that would have you believe that the title statement is true. Note: I don’t believe a bit of it–just wanted to let you know that before you formed an opinion of this Mac fanboy’s leanings on this issue, which you may have done already just from the title. Anyway:

Apple Bullet  This ZDNet article suggests that Mac users are more honest, though their data is a bit one-sided and weak: it is based on the fact that nearly a third of all Leopard sales were in the form of the Family Pack–a purchase that would be unnecessary for anyone wishing to install Leopard on multiple computers, should they wish to do so by buying the cheaper single-install disc, which is not copy-protected (it does not even require a serial number to be input). The only data on the Windows users’ side is paper-thin: no reports of relative software piracy, just a note that Microsoft goes to extreme lengths to copy-protect their software, which in itself suggests that Microsoft doesn’t trust its user base like Apple does.

This whole idea here does have some rather notable holes; Apple makes its money with hardware more than software, so it does not have the imperative that Microsoft does to protect its software as much (Apple does copy protect its more expensive software). Also, buying a Family Pack does not mean that you are being completely honest–it may just be a way for five people who do not live in the same household to pay $40 per person for Leopard instead of $120. Not as bad as stealing it outright, but not exactly angelic either. Not to mention that the article makes no measure whatsoever of actual piracy levels on the Windows side, so it is useless as an actual comparison of OS piracy amongst the two user groups.

Apple Bullet  Harder data comes from this study, which found that “consumers who own Apple Mac computers are much more likely than PC users to pay to download music.” It reported that while about half of all Mac users paid for their music downloads, only about one-sixth of all PC users paid for theirs. It also reported slightly higher CD purchases among Mac owners.

While these numbers are a bit harder to dismiss outright, there are several chinks in the armor. For instance, the numbers may be based upon inaccurately low estimates on the number of Mac users, or perhaps that PC users simply consume less music overall. But the difference shown in the survey is a bit high to be completely explained away by just these two potential flaws.

It could be that Mac users are simply hand-led to a more legal avenue–with iTunes pre-installed, it is simply easier to buy legally on the Mac, while on the PC there is much more software available to download music illegally. Perhaps the average income of Mac users is somewhat higher, leading to a higher “what’s my threshold for dishonest behavior” effect. But again, these are somewhat weak. Nevertheless, it is kind of hard to suggest that Mac users as a group are somehow more intrinsically honest than PC users, even by a slim margin. Perhaps all of the above circumstances combine toward a greater data-altering effect.

Apple Bullet  Finally, there’s this rather non-scientific survey which found that Mac users at Starbucks were bigger tippers than PC users–twice as big, in fact. Again, it might be more about the median income of Mac users, but then again, PC users are supposed to be businesspeople, and going to Starbucks is not exactly slumming, either. In the end, this “evidence” is more easily dismissed as apocryphal, isolated, and ultimately non-scientific to the extreme.

Now, despite what you might think about me being a rabid Mac fanboy (which I am), I seriously don’t buy into the “Mac users are better people” idea. Something skews data & perceptions about this, and much of the data, as I’ve shown, is rather weak. Mac users are no better than PC users, I have no doubt about that.

Nevertheless, despite not taking it seriously, it does <evil grin=”on”>rather tickle me</evil> to see stories like this floating around the web.

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  1. December 31st, 2007 at 12:11 | #1

    Everybody knows that Linux users are better people. 😉

  2. Alex
    December 31st, 2007 at 13:11 | #2

    Mac users might be more open minded people. About paying or the software and music, I think mac users have more respect for Apple: for Windows users Microsoft is “they”, for Mac users Apple is “us’.

  3. Kenzo
    December 31st, 2007 at 14:14 | #3

    Alex: I agree with your view. I want to get a MacBook Pro someday. (Now I am a WinXP laptop user though…)

  4. December 31st, 2007 at 20:39 | #4

    I believe that the likeliest factors behind some of this “data” (which is clearly a load of bull cookies, and I say that as a primary Mac user) is that Mac users are more affluent (hence the reason they can afford more expensive machines) and more naive about the whole piracy thing.

    Greater affluence results in bigger tips (and more Starbucks patronage on the whole). Also, a lot of PC users buy Mac portables so I’m not sure if you you can gauge platform at Starbucks short of asking everyone who walks in the door what their primary platform is. The dubiousness of the tip/platform information is very, very high and carries the scent of subjectiveness very strongly. After all, are people really carefully watching who puts what amount in the tip jar and looking at their computers?

    As for paying for things, most Mac users don’t know how to use torrent software and what few try tend to get relatively confused by it all. Also, torrent software for Mac is pretty crap relative to PCs and there are far fewer Mac titles available on torrent sites to pirate. Mac users may pay for software more often because the target demographic is users who want simplicity and pirating is more complicated than buying legally.

    All this sort of thing does is enhance the perception that Mac users are smug and superior.

  5. Alex
    January 1st, 2008 at 15:19 | #5

    I used Napster, Gnutella and Bittorrent intensively years ago when I had only PCs. Since I switched to Mac (2005) I started to download songs from iTunes and I use more “legit”software”. If I want I can use piracy software in Windows, not in Tiger. I still use Widows at work, and for Architecture and Autodesk Inventor (on my MacBook Pro). In my personal eperience, I think Apple changed me; as you see I am “converted”.

  6. ykw
    January 3rd, 2008 at 04:30 | #6

    I don’t believe the starbucks story since many mac people are students w/o much money. I can see a small difference in avg tip, yet not 2x. Please tell your father, a good Mac person, that he should get a small dividend check from gwi within several months !

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