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How Apple cornered a niche clientele

Macs are the industry standard for several creative fields, particularly graphic designers. Even for graphic design students here at USD use Macs, but what warrants Apple’s Mac desktop and laptop line being the standard? 

When Adobe first introduced its software Photoshop in 1990, it was marketed as a product for Macintoshes, according to an article by Eric Goodnight on How to Geek. This early coupling between Apple and Adobe allowed Apple to get into a niche market of photographers and other creative professionals who would have a benefit from using a photo editing software.

Steve Jobs, according to Goodnight’s article, had an interest in fonts and calligraphy. This is why typography was an important part for the development of the Macintosh. Adobe’s Postscript introduction in the mid-1980s was another important addition to Apple’s computers on top of Photoshop.

Since then, Adobe began marketing its software, which was only available at the time on Mac products, to graphic designers and other creatives.

In the 30 plus years since the pairing of Adobe and Apple, Adobe products have become available to non-Apple computers. During this time, computers have gone from being solely desktops to incorporating laptops, tablets like those good drawing tablets, and smartphones that can be integrated with each other, especially with cloud-based storage.

Why, then, are MacBooks and Mac desktops still an industry standard? That’s in part because of tradition. According to an article on Creative Pro’s website, Macs at one point were the only option for graphic designers. The article also stated how the use of Macs has been something essentially taught by teachers and mentors.

According to the Student Laptop Information webpage, Apple is the recommended computer provider for graphic art students. This is mainly due to the types of computer applications used within the program.

Despite this, Apple hasn’t made some of the upgrades to their laptops that other companies have. Specifically, touch screens.

Although Apple introduced its first iPad in 2010, other companies have introduced their equivalents to the iPad.

Yet, Apple hasn’t appeared to make any strides towards a touch screen computer. In contrast, Hewlett-Packard (HP) released the first touch screen computer in 1983, the HP-150, according to an article on arstechnica.com

Although I’ve been a Mac user since 2011, I’ve been enticed to purchase a Surface Pro in recent years. A part of the reason is because of its touch screen capability. But more than that, Microsoft is the first real company to have combined the desirable elements of tablets–lightweight and touch screen capabilities–with some of the traditional elements of a laptop–USB ports and a specifically designed keyboard.

The Microsoft Surface Pro series does provide an alternative computer and tablet choice, especially since Adobe software can be used on non-Mac computers and since the Surface Pro has been marketed towards artists. Yet, graphic designers still tend to gravitate towards Macs.

The reason why graphic designers still tend to lean towards Macs, and other Apple products, is because Apple has over 20 years of experience catering towards them, which is why Macs make the perfect industry standard for graphic designers.