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In the real world, the vast, vast majority (at least 85%) of personal/home computers run some version of Microsoft Windows. In particular, the majority of scientists, engineers, accountants, 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. 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. If iPads become popular enough, they also may stop fitting this trope.
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. While perhaps not realistic in the United States, in other parts of the world, where the iPhone was not historically tied to a single provider (e.g. the United Kingdom), it is more defensible, although the iPhone is nowhere near as ubiquitous as iPods because of effective competition from Android handsets.
- 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.
- 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. Yeah.
- The computers in Death Note are heavily influenced in their design by the contemporary Apple range at the time it was made.
- Jeff Goldblum hacked the alien mothership in Independence Day with a Mac.
- 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 at least the film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, both Lisbeth and Mikael both use MacBooks. Their expensive prices are part of a plot point.
- It's not just the film.
- 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.
- In the finale of Anti Trust, 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.
- 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 non-existent 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 only owning Macs. Until he switches to his own hybrid designs, but even faerie tech feels a bit Mac-like.
- Pattern Recognition by William Gibson (yes, that one) 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.
- 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. The military use mostly Dells, the shows get that right.
- 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.
- Don't recall seeing anyone in Kingdom not using a Mac. This may be due to star Stephen Fry's well-known real life love for Apple products.
- 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 "ICarly"
- 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.
- 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.
- The characters on Law and 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 Mac Books, 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).
- 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). His geekier characters (Jason, Marcus, Eileen...) clearly aren't.
- Of course, the creator, Bill Amend, is a huge Mac fan.
- 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 Guns of the Patriots had everyone use Macs. It actually came out of the fact that Konami didn't want to use a generic MP 3 player and asked Apple if they could use the iPod.
- 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 webseries 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 90s iMac, though.
- 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.
- As does Rallo in The Cleveland Show. Not bad going for a 5-year old!
- 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.
- Likely a case of Pixar showing its work, since a day-care center that relies on donated toys wouldn't have the money to spend on a Mac.
- In recent seasons of South Park, nearly every time a character uses a computer, it's an iMac.
- 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.
- Schools in The Eighties, when the Apple II was by far the most common school computer even in towns with IBM factories; Big Blue specialised 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 decentralised model.
- At any Starbucks in the northeast US (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, possibly due to Apple's generous academic discounts.
- 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.
- They are also almost completely useless to PC gamers, though with the availablity of Steam that might change.
- The real reason that a lot of artists/creative types use Macs has nothing to do with the OS, but the hardware. If you're doing anything that needs color accuracy (most creative processes) you need a screen with at least 8 bit color. All Mac's have 8 bit screens, while almost all PC's have 6 bit screens because they are cheaper and a lot of people can't tell the difference with a quick glance. 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.
- The six-bit vs 8-bit wasn't just about cheaper: six-bit screens refresh faster which makes them superior for doing things like playing games or watching video, where precise color accuracy isn't important.
- Apple has been associated with artistic/creative endeavors for much longer than there have been common color screens. Major creative packages were first written for Macs, which supported rich graphics out of the box; in the Microsoft world, it took much longer for graphic standards to arise (which were mostly oriented around games), and the standard interface for many years was still a command line. Major packages like Aldus Pagemaker and Photoshop were finally ported when Windows 3 created a standardized GUI.
- Apple was also a major force behind the desktop publishing revolution with the Apple Laser Writer printer. The old-old fashioned way of laying out a newspaper was to lay up text in an expensive typographic console using extremely expensive and hard-to-install fonts, use high-quality Xerox copies of hand-drawn artwork for advertisement, cut all of this to size on a paper guillotine, and paste it up with hot wax on layout boards; photos were carried separately to the printer, where a professional used an even more expensive halftoning lithograph to convert photos to halftones and exposed them, often by hand, onto the printing plates. The new-old fashioned way was to lay up the whole newspaper in Aldus Pagemaker including photos (which were automatically halftoned in the software), print the whole mess out on cheap copy paper, and assemble the layout boards like a simple puzzle - this way cut layout time from an entire week (or an entire day with a whole army of designers) to a day at most (the new-fashioned way is to skip the printout and just send the digital file to the printer - raw Postscript with copies of the fonts on floppies, before PDFs and the internet made it even easier). Apple supported the required technologies long before Microsoft did - the Apple LaserWriter, able to make high-quality prints, coming out in the early 80's, when most printers in the Microsoft world were dot-matrix or impact printers; not to speak of affordable scanners and the presence of a mouse.
- Macs are more or less industry standard in both music and film production and has been for many years. Avid, the first digital editing software started out on an Apple II system. Behind's Avid (also owner of ProTools) the other industry standard behind them 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.
- 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.
- 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.