Are Macs for left-handed people?

PCs and Macs are very different machines. There are probably more obvious statements than that in the world but not many. From the design of the computers, to their strengths and weaknesses, the sweeping contrasts between the two are enormous but sometimes it's the smallest variations that are the most telling of the them all.

For example, have you ever taken a good look at something as simple their desktops? There's the recent addition of the Dock and obvious graphic subtleties but one thing, although noticeable, that barely seems to register is the icons and where they sit on the screen. Sure you can drag and drop them wherever you like but the default auto-arrange on the Mac is to the right side of the screen and, with Windows, it's to the left.

No big shakes, you say? O ye of little faith. Icons on the right-hand side of your visual field fall into the left-hand side of your brain; meaning that on a Mac, your left hemisphere is occupied while the blank space on the other side of your desktop leaves your right brain to think. With it so far? Good. Now, it might interest you know that the right side of the brain is associated with imagery, graphical and geometric shape analysis, is more intuitive and supports more holistic approach to thinking. Sound familiar to the Apple approach?

Contrast that with a Windows-based machine. With the icons and the mess on the left side, the left brain is free to work and the left brain is sequential, logical, verbal, mathematical and supports a more linear approach to solutions. You could argue that it's represented in the users of these systems and they ways they work - Apple providing holistic machines with everything you need running out of the box and in tune; a more design-orientated, image-friendly appearance and a strength in graphics applications - whereas PCs provide a more hands-on, straight numerical and logical linear-based approach.

It might seem farcical but a recent poll on MacRumours found that 30% of their Mac-using readers were left-handed, and left-handers are right brain dominant. That's three times more than the worldwide split of 90% righties to 10% southpaws. And it doesn't stop there. The most recent figures for the computing market showed that 88.7% of the world uses Windows and 9.63% run with Apple. That's more than pretty close.

So, why then is Bill Gates left-handed and does Steve Jobs favour his right? Why have they been catering for the other end of the market? Well, perhaps it's simply business. There's many more right-handed people than lefties. It's a bigger market, but then, it could be that Steve Jobs took the right side first. However, Gates's fortune could be because left-handed people have a higher propensity for success. A study by Chris McManus of UCL showed that left-handed men who attended college were on average 15% richer than their right-handed counterparts and that figure went up to 26% if they managed to graduate. He also predicted a rise in the proportion of left-handers into the future, so perhaps Jobs has just been playing the long game - on an evolutionary scale.

Maybe Macs are really for left-handed people, maybe Windows are for the rights; maybe Gates is taunting right-handed people who persecuted him with an unstable and frustrating OS and Jobs has been exploiting arty-farty southpaws. Who knows, but the one question really remaining is, does that mean that at around 1% of the market share, Linux is for the ambidextrous?