The Beginner’s Guide to Apple Spotting

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Guest Post by Melinda Seckington

About two years ago, three of my friends all switched around the same time over to Mac. After that, whenever we were watching a movie or a TV show they would keep pointing out the Macs to me, much to my annoyance. I mean, I didn’t feel the need to point out the PCs to them; why did they get so thrilled by a Mac on TV? Then half a year later, I also switched. And sure enough: I also started doing the exact same thing, which I now call Apple Spotting.


Anytime I see an Apple product, I have to mention it to someone and even when no one else is around, I still feel happy that I’ve managed to spot the product. It’s like some game you’re playing with the powers that be; as if the products were hidden like easter eggs, especially for you to find. I’m still not sure why I do this, maybe I’m more of a Apple fangirl than I thought I was. Maybe I like seeing these products I love featured on TV shows I love. Anyhow, here are some tips and tricks on how to become an Apple Spotter:

1. Know your Apple products.

It helps to know exactly how the products look like you’re trying spot. Yes, most of you may know an Apple laptop when you see it, but can you tell the difference between an iBook and a MacBook from a distance? Now, that’s what separates the newbie Spotters from the hardcore pros. If you’re watching old shows or movies, you might also want to examine the older product ranges a bit better.


2. Always be alert.

Don’t assume the products will be the main focus of attention; even if in your mind the world revolves around your Mac, the plot of a TV show or movie doesn’t. Keep an eye on the background, especially during scenes at offices.

3. Don’t depend on the Apple logo.

With some movies and TV shows, the product placement is not intentional and the set directors will try to hide the Apple logo. Stickers, conveniently placed plant pots and messy desks will often obscure the pretty glowing Apple. The true Spotter though shouldn’t rely on only the logo to know it’s an Apple product; if you know your stuff, you should easily recognize them.


4. Beware for impostors.

Not all products you see will be Apples. In these cases the most important thing to remember is not to call out “hey, an Apple!” only then to be shot down, once you realize it isn’t. Again if you know your products, this shouldn’t happen.

5. Extra plot info

This doesn’t happen that often, but there have been a few select cases where the choice of Mac versus PC actually indicated the nature of a person’s allegiance. The most famous example is the first season of 24: the good guys used Macs, the bad guys used PCs. Even the traitor who is only revealed in the finale of that season, is using a PC from the very beginning. A less plot-twisting but similar characterization was done in Legally Blonde: the bubbly blonde main character used a Mac, the stiff law students used PCs.


And that’s all there is to it! One small final remark: why does Hollywood use the iPhone upside down?



So will you become an Apple Spotter too?

You can find more of Melinda’s writing at

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

9 thoughts on “The Beginner’s Guide to Apple Spotting

  1. Check out Will Smith’s laboratory in “I am Legend”. I think there were two Intel MacPros and a couple of 20″ Mac monitors. I’ve seen a number of movies with Macs, but I see so many movies at one time I can’t remember them. Not that it’s really important because I’m sure there’s far more cheap PCs than Macs onscreen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an iPhone in a movie as yet.

  2. On ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters” there are number Apple desktops and laptops shown but the Apple Logo is always covered. The devices are so distinctive I cannot figure out why they put a square sticker over the logo. It seems to draw more attention.

  3. There’s another category, Mac OS X being displayed on what appear to be PCs. This is more common than you would think.

    Spotted: Apple monitors in Ironman. Appear to be display some flavor of Nix.

  4. Glad to know I’m not the only one Apple spotting LOL
    @ Constable Odo: You are right, in ‘I Am Legend’ it is all Apple hardware, I saw the cinema displays but I think I missed the Mac Pros.
    @ Phred: I was just about to comment on Ironman too ’til I read your comment hehe….

  5. If anyone watches Chuck then they might have seen the sexy female “Sarah” carrying an iPhone taking a picture of Casey tied up. Made me fall in love with her more.

    Also in the episode after as the 1st prize in the sales contest big Mike offers an iPhone as the prize. Also again in the first episode you can see Chuck owns a Mac Pro that the ninja tries to break.

    Awesome show to boot. On iTunes so in UK as well so check it out!

  6. To me the most famous Apple movie placement was 2010 a Space Odyssey. The scene on the beach prior to the voyage is an Apple IIc with the mythical LCD screen attached.

  7. In Unbreakable, Samuel L. Jackson (aka Mr. Glass) is running what look like a couple of Quicksilver G4’s…maybe I’m wrong on the model, but they are Apple nonetheless.

  8. Every issue of Real Simple magazine has at least one, and frequently more, usually an iBook. They do not try to hide the logo, but I cannot tell if it is always a real machine or a pasteboard box!

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