Technology Survey of First-Years Shows Rise of iPods, Mac OS, Laptops

Jan. 25, 2007 -- An annual technology inventory of entering students at the University of Virginia seems to confirm both the pervasiveness and the power of Apple's iPod music player.

Not only did this year's survey show that 67 percent of the first-year students at U.Va. own an iPod, but it also found that ownership of Apple computers has increased more than five-fold in just the past four years.

For the past 10 years, U.Va. has questioned every first-year student about the technology they bring to school, such as whether they use the Windows operating system or Mac OS X and whether they own an MP3 player or video game console.

This year's survey of 3,092 first-years found, among other things, that 20 percent of first-years are using Macs. That is up from just 3 percent in 2002.

Overall, 77 percent of the students have digital music players, and iPods represent 87 percent of those players.

When the inventory was first taken in 1998, 87 percent of the computers that students owned were desktop models. This year, laptops represent 97 percent of the computers that students own.

“Having data on the almost total transition from desktops to laptops allowed us to reallocate our IT budget from computer labs into better wireless access coverage across campus,” noted Teresa Lockard, director of Computing Support Services. “When every student has a laptop, every classroom with wireless becomes a computer-equipped space.”

For the first time this year, the inventory included video game consoles, and only 6 percent of the first-year students brought a game system with them. Considering that a recent survey indicates that 76 percent of high school student households have at least one video game platform, the U.Va. inventory resulted in a surprisingly low number.

Data from more than 27,000 students surveyed over the past 10 years are available on the U.Va. Web site, presented in graphical form at:

Selected data from the 10 years of surveys can be provided in a spreadsheet format, upon request.