Please stop with all the MacBooks

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By Elisha Mans, First Year Politics and International Relations

Everyone in Bristol has a MacBook and it says a lot about the privilege and herd-mentality of this university.

Have a casual look around in your next lecture. Do you notice something strange about the amount of people sat with a £1000 piece of tech in front of them? Probably not.

We have all gotten so used to this MacBook usage that we ignore the madness of it.

In every lecture I have ever sat in, there is an overwhelming amount of MacBooks. That not-so-subtle bright Apple logo repeats itself across every row in the lecture theatre, as does the incessant sound of tapping at the keyboard.

But, if we stop to think about it in purely monetary terms, this is simply insane.

There are so many other, cheaper laptops on the market. This has surely got to reflect something about the way in which Bristol students live.

I myself am the proud owner of a Microsoft Surface 4 - a laptop that I bet many people have never even seen. And if they had seen it, say in a lecture, it would be to remark on the fact that it is not an Apple.

Is Apple's domiance evidence of the consumerist, brand-led society that we live in? Is it the result of going to a university with the reputation of being for posh kids? Or am I just overthinking this whole thing?

The latter certainly holds sway, but I think that there is definitely more to it than just privilage. The fact that it is almost surprising to see someone use a non-MacBook must indicate the power of herd-mentality.

If you were to compare like-for-like MacBooks against other laptops, there probably would not be an overwhelming difference for the vast majority.

Okay, I know some computer-scientists could hit me with the facts, but for those of us just using our laptops as a note-making tool, the differences would be pretty insignificant.

Is Apple's domiance evidence of the consumerist, brand-led society that we live in? Is it the result of going to a university with the reputation of being for posh kids?

So, I remain unsure what the cause of the MacBook phenomenon is.

I am tempted to put it down to that feeling of being a part of a consumer-led group identity. When everyone in primary school had Heelys, you know those super-cool but also mega-dangerous trainers with wheels, there was that feeling that if you were notwheeling your way around the playground you were not really cool. You might have had a very aesthetic, more-efficient, less-life threatening pair of shoes but that did not matter. You needed Heelys.

Perhaps the same can be said about MacBooks.

There is value in being the owner of a MacBook, just because everyone else also has them. You can be a part of the group of MacBook owners who all light up the lecture theatre with little white apples. Maybe it is not even a conscious thing to want to be a part of the MacBook group. Maybe it is literally just the influence of seeing everyone around you with MacBooks.

But I think that it is time to branch out.

I do not mean go and buy a new laptop to break the Apple consumer loop, but I mean branch out in terms of seeing other laptops as a possibility.

Afterall, should laptops really be a fashion accessory? They are not even as cool as Heelys.

I am ashamed to admit right at the end of this rant that I actually own an iPhone and so am probably doing exactly the same thing as the MacBook flaunters. But hey, consumerism am I right?

Featured image: Epigram/Will Charley

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