Apple seems to be targeting a new advert at neuroscientists. Dr Nouchine Hadjikhani is featured in the promotion, although at closer inspection, the intended audience are more likely to be people dazzled by the bright lights of brain scanning.
The ad is interesting in that it touts her Apple system as a “vital tool” in her research, although the main selling point seems to be that it runs a free software programme used in brain scan analysis called NeuroLens.
NeuroLens, although respected, is not widely used at present, largely due to the domination of SPM. SPM is also free software, and although it requires a commercial copy of Matlab, it runs on Mac, Windows Linux and other sorts of Unix.
One of the reasons given by Dr Hadjikhani for preferring MacOS is that she is ‘challenged by the command line’, despite the fact that the ad claims she uses NeuroLens before ‘delving into extensive data analysis on her Linux systems’.
“Using UNIX at the command line is time consuming and you have to remember a number of things”, she says, although I suspect her job as a cognitive neuroscientist means she’s quite used to remembering ‘a number of things’ on a daily basis.
They conveniently neglect to say that MacOS is Unix and that Linux isn’t just the command line.
For cognitive neuroscientists, Apple seem to be advertising their systems on the back of (admittedly very attractive) free software, and hoping to use the leverage of Mac only software to get a foot in the door of a largely Apple-free science.
I suspect the ad is more likely to be targeted at executives, however, who want to be seen to be using systems that serious scientists use.
Co-branding with neuroscience, along with other ‘hot topic’ sciences, might be a policy which would go down well with those worried about being seen with an “artist’s” computer on their desk.