In response to another post this week ("Are those Macs I see?"), a couple of readers suggested that I actually talk to some new Mac users instead of speculating (and asking my readers to speculate) on the increased presence of Macs on the WPI campus. Of course, being a math and physics teacher, I'm more inclined to speculate and collect data via some numeric means than actually speak to people, so thanks for the suggestion.
I did actually talk with two of my classmates who were brandishing shiny new Macs; although these are grad students, they helped me formulate the poll below, confirmed some of my suspicions, and helped crystallize some additional questions for the undergrads next week that I'll spot between classes, brandishing their own shiny new Macs.
Of the two switchers I talked to initially, one cited the use of the Mac platform at his own school as a reason for purchasing his Macbook Pro. Not only had his experiences been very positive, but the Mac ran all of the software he needed in an interface he liked. The new PCs he was considering all came with Vista preloaded as well; since he purchased his Mac shortly after Vista was released, he had no desire to be an early adopter.
The other switcher also cited Vista as a significant reason for not buying a new PC. While the school at which he teaches is exclusively a PC shop, he noted that OS X plays nicely with the Windows network and recognized the schools' smartboards, printers, etc., without installing any additional software. Although he had experimented with Linux in the past, he still felt that it wasn't "plug-and-play" enough, so he chose OS X as his Vista alternative.
I'll post my other interviews with switchers on campus next Tuesday night.