In the real world, the vast, vast majority (85%–90%) of personal/home computers run some version of Microsoft Windows
. In particular, the majority of engineers, accountants, self-employed people and teachers use Windows PCs. A fairly small number of geeks, a decently large number of data centers and supercomputer labs, and many, many scientists also run Unix-like
systems, particularly Linux.note
This leaves Apple Macintoshes
as the minority interest mainly of a small minority of college students, academics, and a number of "creative" types—artists, writers, musicians, etc.
Of course, given that those latter kind of people are, by definition, the ones responsible for all media
, and given the kind of messianic zeal that hardware/software seems to generate in all who buy into it, Apple computers are massively disproportionately represented.
And, of course, Apple is willing to supply free hardware
for Product Placement
deals. While Windows holds a much larger share of the market, its share is spread among several large and many small vendors—Microsoft sells only the software (which is rarely seen, in favor of a Viewer-Friendly Interface
) and would not be so inclined as Apple (which sells all
of the hardware and the majority of all software for the Macintosh line) to pay for product placement.
It also helps that the minimalist design
of most Apple products means that, not only do they not stand out in the background of a shot, but they also look pretty damn slick, too.
Note that this does not
apply to iPods
, which are actually very popular in the real world. Given that in late 2012, iPads account for something like 70% of all tablet computers, they're emphatically NOT this trope—it would be more notable if someone were using a tablet that was not an iPad.
It probably does apply for iPhones, though. In the United States, more people use Verizon Wireless
than AT&T, which was the exclusive mobile service of the iPhone until February 2011. In the media, however, every so often you might see a BlackBerry, but for the most part, everyone has an iPhone. From 2009 to 2012 this was actually realistic, but ever since the Samsung Galaxy S3 was the first smartphone to outsell the iPhone, this is not reality anymore.
See also iPhony
, where a parody or Expy
is used instead.
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- A rather infuriating example is the notorious Finallyfast.com commercial, which among other terrible things, depicts people happily running Windows-only programs and being foiled by Windows-style hard crashes on Macs... PowerPC Macs that cannot run Windows without emulation. The fact that the program is suspected to be a scam that actually gives you harmful trojan horses just adds insult to injury, or perhaps, injury to insult.
Anime and Manga
- Besides being a massive Mind Screw, Serial Experiments Lain is notable for having more references to Apple than possibly every other entry on this list combined. The Navi computers are all clearly modeled after Apple products (Alice uses an iMac ripoff, Lain has a machine that resembles the Twentieth Anniversary Mac); their "cell phones" are modeled after the Apple Newton, a primitive attempt in the early 1990s at creating a functional PDA; the catch phrase "Close this world, open the neXt" refers to the NeXT OS, upon which the modern Mac OS was based; hell, the voiceover that reads the title of each episode is the text-to-speech program that comes with every Mac. That's only to start.
- The "Next Episode" title card used the NeXT capitalization.
- Even the word "Navi" is speculated to be a shorthand for "Knowledge Navigator", a term a former Apple CEO used to describe computers that functioned primarily as Internet terminals.
- Think Different
- In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Nami expresses a desire to get an iPod for Christmas, and a later episode indicates that she was given one and purchased a Mac computer afterward. Makes sense, since she's normal.
- The main conflict of Summer Wars involves an AI that hacks into a virtual world that controls every corner of the Internet and the world governments. The AI started as an experiment by one of the principle characters, Wabisuke, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States. ...guess what kind of phone he has. Carnegie Mellon University has a deal with Apple in Real Life, though, dating back past The Eighties. Otherwise, this is an aversion; geekier characters—Kenji, his nerd buddy, and Kazuma—all use PCs, and Wabisuke's iPhone is the only one out of a whole lot of flip-phones.
- The computers in Death Note are heavily influenced in their design by the contemporary Apple range at the time it was made.
- Inverted in Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru. Hachiman, the protagonist, has something resembling an iPhone...but he's a misanthropic outcast. Everyone else uses flip-phones.
- Subverted in The Boys, in that the computer Billy Butcher uses is very, very clearly a Mac Book, but the illuminated logo on the lid has been altered to... a pear. (see also under Live Action TV, Dirk Gently for the same gag).
- The first Mission: Impossible film featured plenty of Macs.
- Several weeks later in the summer of 1996 Jeff Goldblum hacked the alien mothership in Independence Day with a Power Book.
- That same Power Book also had its own Independence Day TV spot. The Power Book was busy that summer.
- Goldblum would later go on to star in a series of ads for the iMac in 1998.
- It's at least slightly easier to suspend disbelief in the premise (that this works because he's running a distant derivative of the aliens' secretly reverse-engineered OS) with the Mac than if he has a PC and Windows. Slightly.
- On the other hand, while he has Mac hardware, it's clearly a custom OS. How he managed that is anyone's guess.
- Zoolander may be a subversion, since the computer got smashed.
- More precisely, the Mac, at the time sold primarily as the computer for people who were bad with computers, was too complicated for Hansel.
- All of the computers and technology used in the movie Accepted were from Apple.
- Might be part of a Casting Gag, since the star is Justin Long, aka the "I'm a Mac" guy.
- Besides the fact that no hacker worth her salt would be using a Mac in the 1990s, every computer in The Net ran Mac OS 8. And, the scene at the convention center looked like MacWorld.
- Given that said convention center was explicitly stated to be the Moscone Center, home of MacWorld Expo...
- In both the film and the book of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, both Lisbeth and Mikael both use MacBooks. Their expensive prices are part of a plot point.
- Not to mention, despite the mid 2000 setting of the story, all of the Apple hardware in the movie is modern (from 2012), despite running software from 2005.
- The normal guy from Franklyn has a Mac.
- Rowan Atkinson destroys a poor little iMac in Johnny English.
- Jurassic Park's super computer network was based on the Connection Machine CM-5, at the time the badassest of the badass supercomputers (which makes it a sensible choice from a story point of view versus the Crays of the original book), and had vast numbers of Blinkenlights (making it visually awesome and therefore an ideal movie prop). However, Dennis Nedry's terminal ran on a Mac.
- Not to mention the number of SGI workstations that show up, which was what the production crew used to create the film's CG. The unintentionally hilarious line "It's a Unix system; I know this" comes as the character is looking at a graphical user interface, something Unix is famous for not having; this particular GUI happens to be a real SGI file browser.
- Unix has had GU Is since 1987 in the form of the X Windowing System, and most desktop environments then and now for X would be pretty instantly recognizable to anyone who knows how to use Unix or a Unix-like.
- In the finale of Antitrust, the Synapse broadcast is done with a PowerBook G3. It's fitting when you consider how the movie is a feature-length Take That at Apple's chief rival, but it makes less sense when you remember that the film is about computer hackers (who, as stated above, don't use Macs), and that the Product Placement goes against the film's pro-open source message (Mac OS is hardly open source software).
- Blade: Trinity is practically a two hour long commercial for Apple products.
- Legally Blonde is an interesting subversion, with Elle's bright pink Macbook intentionally contrasting with the sea of slate-grey, presumably Windows-based laptops her fellow students carry.
- Even Shakespearean characters can own Macs, in adaptations set in modern times:
- In the 2000 film version of Hamlet starring Ethan Hawke, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have a PowerBook on which Hamlet discovers the order for him to be beheaded saved as a Word document, which he edits so that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will be executed instead.
- Ralph Fiennes' 2011 film of Coriolanus shows Coriolanus' son with an iMac in his room, and Coriolanus receiving a Skype call on a MacBook Pro.
- Lambada (1990) has a schoolroom full of Apple Macintoshes, which isn't that far removed from Real Life until the kids are inspired to rock out by watching a graphics demo on a Mac SE.
- When personal computers are mentioned in Stephen King novels, they tend to be Apple products.
- In Young Wizards, Dairine's Wizard's Manual starts out as a phone book–sized portable Apple IIIc (a fictitious hybrid of the Apple IIc and Apple III), but repeatedly upgrades its own hardware until it ends up being a sleek Mac notebook.
- On the one hand, the computer was substituted for the one Dairine's parents (non-techies) thought they were buying for the family. On the other, the computer's fake-Apple logo (the fruit silhouette without the missing bite) apparently became standard issue. So... yeah.
- Artemis Fowl is shown owning only Macs. Until he switches to his own hybrid designs, but even faerie tech feels a bit Mac-like.
- In the Bigend Books by William Gibson:
- Pattern Recognition has a character who owns an antique Mac G4 Cube. The gentle pulsating of the power lamp when the computer is in sleep mode is apparently quite soothing.
- Zero History is awash with iPhones, and a character refers to them as "the default platform."
- Spider Robinson loves his Mac, and if a computer shows up in a Callahan story, that's what it will be.
- ArthurDent buys an unidentified Apple PC in So Long And Thanks For All The Fish. Douglas Adams was also a fan.
- In Spooks, The BBC was forced to cover up the Apple logo on the cast laptops due to viewer complaints that it violated product placement rules.
- Mac laptops have shown up from time to time in the revived Doctor Who, and Mac keyboards are used more often than not whenever a prop keyboard is required. The BBC would seem to like it some Macs.
- On 24, the good guys usually use Macs and the villains PCs.
- For one who knows 24's penchant for putting the product of the company who pays the most (Ford) in the hands of the good guys, it's easy to tell why.
- Reportedly, 24 uses Macs due to star Kiefer Sutherland being a loyal Mac user and a popular Apple Store customer.
- Averted quite a bit by the Stargate Verse, where Dells are the most common systems (as with the real-life US military), along with the occasional NEC.
- Glee: The computer on which Finn watches the sonogram is a Mac. Even more annoying when you realize that their family is middle- to lower-middle-class.
- Even more annoying when the school that seems to spend all the money it has on its cheerleading team and has money for nothing else can fit the entire school out with new Macs, although there are some HP's floating around.
- Everyone in Kingdom uses a Mac. This may be due to star Stephen Fry's well-known real life love for Apple products and his status as the UK's second-ever Mac owner (Douglas Adams was first.)
- The commentary for the season 1 DVD of Peep Show specifically notes averting this trope, despite pressure from the art department to put in a Mac simply because it looks more attractive. Ironically, the stars, Mitchell and Webb, also do the UK version of Apple's "I'm a Mac / I'm A PC" campaign.
- Fittingly it was Mitchell (who plays the I'm a PC to Webb's I'm A Mac) who made the comments on the commentary. He also noted disapprovingly about about their previous show The Mitchell And Webb Situation using this trope on the commentary to that show.
- On Seinfeld, a Mac could usually be seen on the desk in Jerry's apartment. It got upgraded from time to time, too.
- Actually possibly a justifiable representation, i.e. not this trope, because as a reasonably well-off "creative" type (a standup comedian) Jerry is exactly the sort of person who you'd expect to own a Mac at that time.
- iCarly does the same thing as So Damn Bright, below. Also, if the product is named in dialogue, they'll stick "pear" in the name somewhere—e.g., PearPod, PearPhone, or iPear.
- As do all of the other shows created by Dan Schneider. But it originated on "Drake & Josh"
- And if they show an antagonist, such as Nevel, using aforementioned devices, don't expect them to have a PearPhone, PearPod etc..
- JD looks up info on a patient on a Macbook on Scrubs. Although it makes sense for a doctor recently out of med school would have one, more likely a few years old.
- All of the computers in Nikita are Macs. Though, in this case, it's likely that Birkhoff likes Macs and has them standard for all of Division, and Nikita uses one because she needs s computer that is compatible with the shell program she wrote.
- Every laptop in Dexter seems to be a Macbook. All the software is sort of generic, though.
- Averted with CSI: New York, where lab work has been seen on laptops with prominent Windows logos.
- Everyone on 30 Rock uses Apple products. Jack has an iMac on his desk most of the time and seemingly all the characters carry iPhones. With the possible exception of Jack—who is a high-powered business executive—this makes a certain amount of sense, as (again) 30 Rock is set in the creative industry (specifically television production, and even more specifically NBC. Since the whole series is Tina Fey writing what she knows, it might actually be realistic.
- Many Macs on The Office (at least the US version). One episode's b-plot revolved around the receptionist desk getting a new computer (an iMac), and video conferencing via MacBook Pro has happened too many times to count. On the other hand, Dunder-Mifflin desk computers all seem to be PCs.
- The characters on Law & Order: SVU have taken to carrying around iPhones and iPads.
- While early seasons of Leverage were guilty of this, with various Mac products used for Hollywood Hacking, the later seasons have started to grow out of it. In the later seasons, the team's headquarters has a large, fancy touch screen computer with a quite obvious Windows 7 desktop wallpaper.
- In newer seasons of Degrassi, everyone seems to have an iPhone. All five of Canada's major cellular providers have offered them from the start but it's still hard to see how, let's say, KC can afford one.
- Averted in How I Met Your Mother in Subway Wars, in which Ted has a laptop with a Windows logo on the lid. Otherwise, in every other episode, all their computers look suspiciously Mac-like.
- Subverted in the BBC mini-series Dirk Gently, in that the computers that Dirk and Mac Duff use are both very, very clearly MacBooks, but the illuminated logo on the lid has been altered to... a pear. (Notable also because Douglas Adams, the creator of the character, was the first person in the UK to own a Macintosh and worked for Apple for many years as an evangelist for their technology).
- In True Blood, all the Chancellors of the Authority use Macbooks. Given that they're hundreds or thousands of years old, and all rich and decadent, it makes a sort of sense, but these are basically almost the only computers ever seen in the show.
- CBS has an deal with Microsoft for product placement the first few years all laptops had mac like windows flag placed on them with no tags for make. Both NCIS:LA and Hawaii Five-0 have Pixelsense systems. now we see both surface tablets and branded ms partner laptops and windows phones from Nokia. The Hawaii 5-0 Season 4 premiere even got he old Pixelsense table shot up so that chin-ho could get an more modern model to show off.
- Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad: Everyone Owns A Compaq. Almost certainly not a Product Placement deal, not for a Follow the Leader job on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers on even more of a shoestring budget. In The Nineties Compaq were a big name in corporate IT, a lot like Dell are now, and offered a similar bulk discount scheme. Chances are the showrunners simply called the helpdesk number and asked if they could borrow a few spare workstations for filming.
- In at least season 2 of Monk, it seems like most of the laptops at the police station are Macs.
- The characters of FoxTrot have an "iFruit" family computer. In the storyline where they first got it, it was specifically chosen to keep Jason from playing PC games. Of course, the creator, Bill Amend, is a huge Mac fan, as is Jason's mother, Andy Fox (a columnist). The strip's geekier characters (Jason, Marcus, Eileen...) clearly aren't.
- In Bloom County, resident genius Oliver Wendell Jones owned a Banana Jr. 6000. While its name was also a nod to the PC Junior, its look was taken directly from Macintosh - and when first booted up, it displayed the message "IBM Sucks Silicon."
- Metal Gear Solid 4 had everyone use Macs. It actually came out of the fact that Konami didn't want to use a generic MP3 player and asked Apple if they could use the iPod. Snake even gets to equip an iPod with a wide selection of tunes found strewn across the levels or unlocked with the password feature, many of them from older titles in the series and some new ones.
- Piro in MegaTokyo has one, but considering the sheer number of computers in the house, it's probably justified. Or maybe he bought it for its incompatibility with Largo's junk...
- Unwinder from Unwinder's Tall Comics has a Mac laptop. However, the author of the comic actually uses a Windows PC.
- In So Damn Bright, Never's computer has a pear logo on it. Just like the Apple logo, but with a pear instead of an apple.
- The consoles used by the Exiles in Homestuck all have Apple Keyboards.
- In the TV Tropes original Web series Echo Chamber, Tom and Dana have both been shown using Mac laptops, and the room where they speak to Mr. Administrator is full of Mac desktops.
- Averted in that Strong Bad's computers are all PCs that run a mock-up of some outdated Microsoft OS. The Cheat makes all of its videos on a 1990s iMac, though (later updated to a more recent model).
- In The Simpsons whenever one of the family is using a desktop, it appears to be an iMac with a colored casing.
- In King of the Hill, right around the turn of the millennium, Hank upgrades Peggy Hill's 80s-era Kaypro to a blueberry iMac.
- Steve in American Dad! has a Mac in his bedroom.
- Pixar movies are generally given a free pass on this one since that studio was owned by Steve Jobs before merging with Disney, and since then he was a majority shareholder on the Disney board up until his death in 2011, so it's particularly noteworthy that Toy Story 3 actually averts it several times. Only one of the computers shown in the movie is specifically shown to be a Mac, and an outdated one at that. Andy's laptop vaguely resembles a MacBook at best, although it does appear to have a Mac OS menu bar and iTunes is clearly open on screen. The computer at Sunnyside is very obviously a PC running Windows XP.
- In recent seasons of South Park, nearly every time a character uses a computer, it's an iMac.
- Parodied in HUMANCENTiPAD. Everybody, apart from Gerald, seems to use a Mac. Apple, it seems, has control of everybody and what they can do with them. Kyle gets it pretty bad.
- Fantastic Mr. Fox: Even woodland creatures have Macs, or at least ones who are lawyers do. The same kind of computer also showed up in The Royal Tenenbaums, and both movies had a very retro/uncertain time period that made the sleek Macs look a bit jarring.
- Every computer seen on Littlest Pet Shop (2012) is a MacBook, only with the Apple logo replaced with a circle. Desktop computers have yet to be seen.
- A particular fallacy in any governmental setting. Few U.S. federal agency or department has Macs as standard equipment, and the Obama staffers moving in with their Macs had major compatibility issues. Any government in media using a Mac (such as 24) is an example of this. Many government agencies do have Macs, as well as Linux and other Unix machines. Macs show up on quite a few desks at NASA, NIH, the national laboratories and other science-y agencies. Though they are probably not what you would call "standard equipment".
- In Russia, having an iPad is a requirement for members of the ruling United Russia party. This was subverted when Tim Cook became CEO and then came out of the closet, when the Putin government stopped using Apple products en-masse and removed a Steve Jobs memorial from outside an Apple store just because Putin hate gays.
- Schools in The Eighties, when the Apple II was by far the most common school computer even in towns with IBM factories; Big Blue specialized in large central mainframes served by dumb terminals, and it was rather slow -almost fatally so- in responding to the popularity of Apple's more decentralized model.
- At any Starbucks in the northeast United States (especially eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island), go in and count up the laptops. Well over half will usually be Macs.
- Macs are fairly common on college campuses as the image above shows, possibly due to Apple's generous academic discounts. Even then, it's mostly students and faculty in "creative" disciplines using them, with a few computer science majors attracted by Mac OS X's Unix base. Though many students might have personal Macs, the computers generally available for public use are more often than not Windows machines, except in computer labs dedicated to art, music and video.
- Macs become common whenever people are designing their own work flow using their own money. Artists and creative types happen to be the most obvious example of this, but you will also see social organizers, conventions, entrepreneurs, video producers and writers. Macs are least common when someone buys a computer and makes someone else use it: accountants, retail, info kiosks.
- This has been the case ever since the very early days. Productivity software with a WYSIWYG interface—displaying more or less exactly what the end product would look like on paper—was virtually nonexistent on PCs until the release of Windows 3. This gave the Mac plenty of time to gain a foothold in markets where such software would be an asset, particularly desktop publishing.
- Apple took this further by introducing the LaserWriter, one of the first laser printers in an age when most printers were dot-matrix or impact printers, making it possible to produce a master copy of black-and-white publications right from the office.
- In the past, Apple has used LCD panel types that weren't the more common twisted-nematic. These usually produce richer colors and darker black values, and allows for much wider viewing angles, especially vertically. (Those of you with cheap monitors, here's something to try: Open MS Paint and fill the screen with orange, and notice how it looks like a gradient from red-orange to gold rather than a solid color.) It also helps that the Macintosh operating system has long included professional color-matching technology (ColorSync), and a lot of Macs come with a lot of high-quality multimedia software (such as iPhoto and iMovie) pre-installed. However, this has become something of a Discredited Trope, since higher quality monitors are readily available to the populace on all platforms, though for cheapness sake, usually most panels are twisted-nematic.
- Macs are more or less industry standard in both music and film production and have been for many years. Macs are so widely used in the creative industries that just about anything with a trope page made in the last 25 years or so likely had a Mac involved in post-production. Avid, the first digital editing software started out on an Apple II system. Behind Avid (also owner of ProTools) the other industry standard is Final Cut Pro (for video) and Logic (for music), both of them made by Apple. Combine that with Quicktime codecs being standard for most professional video-work and most platforms being based around Firewire interface, it really is easier to work with it from Apple products.
- Averted in the late 80s to early 90s. In that period, the go-to video production machine switched to the Amiga due to its killer app, Video Toaster (that, and the Amiga had some pretty slick video capabilities built-in). Once the Amiga died out, Macs quickly reclaimed the crown (since Macs from that period also had onboard video capture - it's just that video editing software were hard to come by in that era and only basic video capture software was available). The main music machine during the same period was the Atari ST, which had built-in MIDI ports. A number of major music programs still in use today on the Mac, Cubase and Logic, started life as Atari ST programs and migrated over when Atari discontinued the ST line.
- In contrast, one market that has never widely adopted the Macintosh is PC gamers, for two significant reasons. One, other than the tower-style Mac Pros, which are prohibitively expensive to begin with even at the lowest hardware specs, Macs can't be upgraded beyond replacing the RAM or hard drive, one of the main motivations of using a PC for gaming. The other is relatively poor driver support from AMD and Nvidia, at least when it comes to the real-time rendering that games do—something Valve learned the hard way when they committed to supporting the Mac, though it seems to have improved in recent years.
- Averted in the earlier years, when gaming on a Mac was a viable option, though DOS and Windows quickly gained ground after better driver and API support.
- Another issue with Apple computers not taking off in modern PC gaming is, aside from Steve Jobs' creed that "Macs aren't toys", everything but the Mac Pro is ill-equipped in the GPU department. One needs to get at the minimum, a 15" Macbook Pro before a dedicated GPU pops up or an upgraded iMac (which has to be built to order). And even then, they're all laptop GPUs, which are quite a bit weaker. Macs are also a bit notorious for running really hot.
- Scientists (at least those working in academia) will more often than not have a Mac, and although many in-lab computers run Windows, imaging labs and labs working with photomicroscopy are more and more likely to work with Macs. Even in the labs where the generic computers run Windows, most people will have Macs that they use for their own work.
- YMMV on this, depends on the type of lab. A lot of particle physics software runs best on Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Cent OS (or doesn't run at all on a non-Linux OS).
- Apple has always been spotty on server hardware, so when it comes to needing server farms for large scale computation, time sharing, or other uses for server farms, they usually run Linux. However, since Mac OS X is a UNIX OS, which more or less works with Linux, client side machines may be a Mac.
- On the other hand this is very true in medical science, where the first flow cytometry analysis program, Cellquest, was mac only. It is the rare lab that will not have at least one mac, and everyone in academia more then 10 years will be using a mac.
- Some countries avoids this trope hard, like Mexico: Not only Macs are more expensive in Mexico compared with even branded PCs (not to mention assembled PCs) the only places in that country you will find someone using Macs are music studios, TV and radio stations and universities and even in Mexican universities, the use of a Mac is severely restricted for specific degrees and work niches (like audio and video editing) and many times you will need permission from higher-ups for using one for something not related with its intended use.
- On the other hand, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad are very popular in Mexico, despise being as expensive as a Mac, compared with other phones and multimedia devices.
- Stacked, a restaurant where you can personalize your orders with an iPad menu, not only specifically refers to it as an iPad (instead of, say, a "computerized menu" or "touchscreen menu") but the metal stand has a large cut-out on the back to show off the Apple logo.
- Many large-scale corporate operations will more likely run Windows with a version of the MS Office Professional package. This makes media depictions of large corporate cubicle farms with Macs rather jarring.
- This is starting to avert itself in the mobile market. Lately, when showing a generic smartphone, it's starting to look more like Samsung's Galaxy lineup than an iPhone.
- Journalism is another field that uses Macs heavily, thanks to the platform's historical association with desktop publishing. Programs like PageMaker and QuarkXpress made page layout much easier than doing it manually. These programs were also initially Mac-only before going cross-platform and falling out of use in favor of Adobe InDesign, the use of Macs continues, as journalists are not exactly known for their technical prowess. It certainly explains the press's fascination with Apple.