Apple is, once again, big man on campus

Apparently college kids are warming up to Macs again. While Apple's share of the overall computer market is about 5.6 percent, lots of students are picking up Mac notebooks. 40 percent of Princeton students have Macs, up from 10 percent four years ago. 55 percent of Dartmouth freshmen are using them, up from 30 percent two years ago. The study also mentions that The University of Virginia and Cornell are seeing upticks in student Mac users. This is a complete turnabout from the situation a decade ago, when Yale told incoming freshmen not to buy a Mac. Why the dramatic comeback?

The iPod, of course. AdAge cites a study of college students' preferred brands — the iPod is a 65 percent favorite, which actually seems low to us. The iPod has been touted as having a "halo effect," reminding users of Apple's other products. You buy an iPod and like it so much that when it comes time to buy a new computer, you pick up a MacBook instead of a Dell. The third calendar quarter for student purchases ended last week. We'll see if the trend makes a difference when Apple reports earnings on October 15.