The Digital Divide: Mac VS. PC

Bonjourno mes amis! It must be Wednesday since I’m making another post, oh the weeks go by so fast!

Moving along now…

This week’s lecture discussed the topic of the digital divide.  By definition, we know that the digital divide is the theory that shows the inequality of individuals whose knowledge, access, and use of information and communication technologies, or ICTs.  However, the articles by Faye Ginsburg and Mark Warschauer ask their readers to view the digital divide in a different light.

In his article, Warschauer argues that we must “redefine the digital divide,” (2002, par. 20). Similarly, I am viewing the concept of “the digital divide” in a different perspective, by examining the divide between PC and Mac.  Furthermore, I will examine the binary relationship between these two brands of computers, and how they too can reflect inequality.

Let me begin by discussing my new definition for “the digital divide.”  The digital divide, in this sense, is used to describe the so-called divide between “PC” users and “MAC” users.  This division already shows a binary relationship between the two products: there are certain people who are “Pro Mac” and those who are “Pro PC” (doesn’t it sound like we should be debating something more serious, like PRO CHOICE?!)

Anyways, getting back on track.  I don’t know who all remembers it, but Apple launched a

as seen here.

campaign, “Get A Mac” to try and convert PC users into Mac users, or those that were too scared or unmotivated to try a new system.  For those who don’t remember, they used Justin Long as “the Mac,” and John Hodgman was “the PC.”  Throughout the many commercials, PC and Microsoft (as well as their users) are inferior, subservient and subordinate to Apple and Macbook’s.  There are a variety of commercials to choose from, but here’s an example:

As this commercial demonstrates, Windows and PC is seen as “less-awesome” to Mac, less-friendly (referring to the #1 in customer service point), and overall just a shittier system, to be blunt.

However, what I find interesting is WHY is there such a large divide between “Mac” users and “PC” users, are they truly any different? What other factors are we not including when discussing the digital divide between Mac and PC?  Furthermore, are Mac users “digital natives” while PC users are “digital immigrants” failing to keep up with the current trends?

When looking at the physical design of the computers there are recognizable differences, listed in this article such as design, functions, and uses. However, what we haven’t looked at is the requirements in order to obtain a Macbook computer.  When we analyze further, we will see a digital divide that also includes different forms of inequality.  For one, the price for a typical Mac is going to be around the $1000 range, and that’s without adding any extra components, parts, pieces, etc.  Comparably, you can find PC’s, looking specifically at laptops, for around the $200-$300 range (yes I understand that this price also includes just the basic, just trying to make a point.)  This one specific example demonstrates inequality in the simplest form: if you do not have the social status and money for a Macbook, you won’t get one, period.  This then creates an even greater divide between Mac and PC users based on economic status.

Continuing on this point on the digital divide between Mac and PC users, I must now address the second part of this blog.  If Mac is seen as the new legitimate system, would Mac users be considered “digital natives” and PC users as “digital immigrants?” I will further explore this topic.  If digital natives are people who are so ingrained with technology that it apart of their everyday life (sounds to me like the domestication approach” by Baym), then those who must learn and “get with” the times are those who would be considered “digital immigrants.”  In recent years, Macbooks have acquired popularity, some considering it more important and relevant technology to this generation.  Then it can be suggested that PC’s and PC users are “out-of-date” and must learn the new system (Mac/Apple).  Some would argue you must learn a “new language,” such as learning the shortcuts for copy, pasting, etc., through support videos.   These individuals could be seen as “digital immigrants” in that they are not in the “know-how” of the Mac system.

However, I found this picture that shows quite the opposite position of my above statement.  It states that PC users are the “digital natives” because they know the language, the uses, the purposes, and can redesign their own computers, while Mac users are previous PC users who “gave up” on using the “better” computer system.

So readers, who are you? Are you the digital native? Are you the digital immigrant? Are you the PC user? The Mac user?  To me, it doesn’t really matter. To you, it may, and I’m fine with that.  However, what is important to note is that the concept of the digital divide and the inequality that comes with it are important to recognize.  Looking at my specific digital divide between Mac vs. PC, is TRIVIAL to the true digital divide that is taking place in our own global community.

Here’s a video with all the Mac vs. PC commercials if you have nothing better to do or would like something funny to watch. Until next time my friends 🙂

and now im bored so enjoy some more MAC VS. PC PICS 🙂 (sorry guys they may be biased due to my Macbook love <3)

mac vs. pc

here’s one for you PC users

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4 Responses to The Digital Divide: Mac VS. PC

  1. Thanks for your post. I’ll be honest…I look at a Mac and I feel like I’m so old and out of touch. I agree with you wholeheartedly that there is a digital divide between computer users. I absolutely feel it. I mean, how many times have friends told me “once you own a Mac, you’ll never go back”. Argh…Barf! Honestly, who has time to learn a whole new operating system? Not this lady! I’m quite content closing my Word documents (yeah…good ‘ol “not so complicated” MS Word!) by clicking on the X on the right (where it should be!) and surfing the internet using Google Chrome (best.ever!). Honestly, who needs an iPad when you can buy an Acer tablet for a fraction of the price…AND you don’t have to visit a “genius” to know how to use it! Have I made my point?

    I think you’ve made some excellent arguments with regards to how Apple has created a divide. For instance, Apple and their products seem to be targeted at a younger generation, and the most recent advertising seems to imply that it is just “naturally” a part of your body (“your thumb…this screen…common sense?”). See below:

    Furthermore, their products are insanely pricey! This only serves to widen the divide, and to quote you directly “demonstrates inequality in the simplest form: if you do not have the social status and money for a Macbook, you won’t get one, period.” Or…more crassly, as illustrated by The Oatmeal author/artist Matthew Inman, the divide leads to: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apple.

    Regardless of the device, we both agree there is a digital divide that is created with Apple vs. PC. However…I think it’s important to note that John Hodgman is by far the superior comedian!

  2. sharrae says:

    Your comparison between the Mac vs. PC camps is really interesting when applying it to the concept of the digital divide, and the sub-categories of “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.” The analogy has forced me to consider the politics and corporate practices of each company, while applying it to the idea of nation-states. If Mac is the conqueror, piercing into digital uses of consumers/prosumers, they are also creating a hegemonic order whereby everything is being compared to its products. It’s difficult to go into a coffee shop or a classroom without seeing majority of computer users using a Macbook computer. Macs are taking over, there is no denying. However, if that is to be said, and if we are to stick to your analogy that places PC’s and users as the underdogs who either would like to be colonized and converted into the Mac-world, the question becomes, to what lengths will the Apple state have to go in order to produce enough products and marketing schemes to stay in power of the digital technological spaces?

    Let’s look at the CEO’s. We have Bill Gates, the creator and founder of Microsoft and WIndows, turned philanthropist of his own foundation (of course with its own problems.) On the other hand, we have (had) Steve Jobs who will forever be the face of the company of Apple who was known for his “corporate dictator-like” leadership practices, along with the various and on-going human rights violations in China of factory workers working at FoxxCon. So yes, Macs may be the dominating technology, which I will equate with America for these purposes, but how many people will they have to exploit and take advantage of to maintain their power?

    Here is a great link with Al-Jazeera highlighting the work of Chinese activist Debby Chan: http://www.aljazeera.com/PROGRAMMES/ACTIVATE/DebbyChan.html

  3. marijkelarge says:

    Hello, my name is Marijke Large and I have been at Mac user for four years. I made the shift from PC to Mac when I left home and came to University. Why? Because I believed, and still do, that Mac’s are more user friendly. And, yes, up until today I thought most people used Mac’s. But…

    Hunch.com re-looked at their past “Teach Hunch About You” questions and compiled a collection of statistics that reveals the stereotypical characteristics typical of of a mac and PC user. Check out this interesting inforgraphic by Colum 5 Media to see the results. The most surprising result, to me at least, was that of the 388,315 Hunch users, 52 per cent said they were PC users, 25 were Mac users and 23 per cent were neither.

    Some of the stereotypes I have about Mac user and PC users held “true” according to the study. For example, Mac people are more likely to drive a Vespa and PC people would drive a Harley. Mac users are 80 per cent more likely to be vegetarians. 52 per cent of Mac people live in a city and PC people are 18 per cent more likely to live in the suburbs and 21 per cent live in rural areas. So, in response to your question, the brands seem to attract people that generally like different things.

    I think it would be hard to argue that Mac users are “digital natives” while PC users are “digital immigrants” or vica versa. I know people across generations, who regardless of whether they grew up using technology or not, use one brand or the other. For me, I’m a “PC native” and a “Mac Immigrant.”

    Overall, I am on the cusp of being a digital native. However, I think it is more complex than these two categories. As, I see myself of a combination of both.I grew up with a slow computer, clunky but unlike, blogger twistedpinktheory’s niece, I was unable to use a computer at age three.

    In your post, you used Mac and PC users as a metaphor to highlight the digital divide and the relationship between “digital immigrants” and “digital natives.” Your questions and use of Mac’s and PC’s challenged me to apply my own examples.

    I am going to use male and female programmers to highlight the gendered divide within the programming world. And, argue that women could be seen as “digital immigrants” in the coding world or in the vast world of technology, and men as “digital natives.” I will also look at what are the repercussions of women who are seen as joining the technological, male “dominated” realm as “digital immigrants.”

    Typically, there has been a lack of women in technology and as coders and designers, as mainly men have filled the role of the designer. As more women enter the technological realm (digital immigrants), are they required to give up their female identity in order to be successful or taken seriously in the technology realm? (example we discussed in class). Landstrom would argue that technology in general is steeped in gender essentialism.

    It should be noted that just as Wajcman pointed out, this divide is not as prominent everywhere. In Malaysia, the country I spent part of my childhood in, the male and female divide in computer science is much more even. Just as this example shows, Sady Doyle of tigerbeatdown.com argues that we need to challenge this common notion that women are technically incompetent or invisible in technical spheres (thanks for sharing her website Rena).

    So, where am I going with all this?! Wajcman argues that technology and society are mutually constructed. And, so seeing women as “digital immigrants” in the technological sphere can also be seen as a source and consequence of gender relations.

    So, I ask you, how do males become the people who are designing technology in the first place? And, just like you, I ask the same question you posed, what I find interesting is WHY is there such a large divide? (Or, is there?!)

    How it is technology seen as a “tool”? And, and what it can do to society? (for more info check out Baym’s analysis of the relationship between technology and society).

    I hope by reframing your questions (from mac vs pc to women in technology vs. men in technology) I have challenged you to think about the role of technology in a different way.

  4. I answer your question, I am a PC user. Now, for me it doesn’t matter whether I am one or not. The only reason why I have a laptop (PC or otherwise) is because I received a bursary in my first year at Carleton. I like how you illustrated the economic aspect of the digital divide between PCs and MACs. Since these videos PCs providers have up the ante. This new Windows 8 was just release today (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCdbWWQfU2E) and the new products that come with them are really colourful. That’s all I can say about them since I am just getting used to Windows 7. I got an update on my computer this summer for free (a kind birthday present) and constantly requiring quick tutorials from my friends as I am using my computer. They have come to know my various pleas of frustration… it is quick sad.

    Our lecture talked about whether we are either ‘digital natives’ or ‘digital immigrants’ and I don’t think that we can be either one or the other. Only one example of ‘digital natives’ are children who are taught that use technology right as a baby (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FQyvbHgCZY). In this instance the child taught to use technology during infancy, when it is a sponge for knowledge. I think that we are all too some degree ‘digital immigrants’. New technologies are rapidly coming at us, being updated almost daily. We have to can choose to learn these new technologies. Instead of being referred to as a native or an immigrant (terminology that is problematic), we should think about it in the context of how quickly we learn these technologies. Whether we are literate or not (Warschauer) is the bigger issue.

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