Originally Posted by EugeneK
Apples are essentially PCs built into a MAC chassis, with a MAC OS installed - Sold at an amazing markup for just the shiny chassis and OS.
That isn't quite true. Though some of the parts are definitely off the shelf, other parts are specifically designed for Apple computers. Motherboards being the major one.
An Apple computer is not a bunch of parts + any old OS. It is a system
and it is this system
that one is paying a premium for.
Dell + Windows or Lenovo + Windows may work some of the time or not at all, or be rock solid, the difference is that Microsoft isn't sitting there designing their OS to run on those platforms specifically. They leave much of the driver issues up to the hardware manufacturers whereas Apple provides the drivers for the hardware they have selected. The integration with the OS is generally flawless.
I prefer linux to OS X and I use linux almost exclusively at home. I'm at a point now that things are about as smooth as I can expect from a homebrew OS but this has not always been the case and unless I roll my own (and that is a whole other headache in itself) I tend to go with a highly supported distro like Ubuntu. Ubuntu upgrades every 6 months and often kills quite a bit of hardware support and it takes a few months to iron out the kinks. Try to get things like cameras or wireless running and it can be tricky, particularly on a laptop. Same goes with Windows (anyone having worked with Vista in the early stages knows what I mean).
This generally doesn't happen with OS X upgrades because everything is designed around 4-5 hardware configurations.
There will always be those who enjoy penny pinching. There will also always be those who love to tinker. Apple computers at first glance may be counterintuitive to those two actions, but, they aren't when one considers two things:
1) time is money
2) the flexibility of the platform
At some point, most of us realize that our time is worth a lot and screwing around getting our computers to work becomes less and less of a hobby and more and more of a chore. This won't be true for everyone but it sure is true for the vast majority of users out there. If I want to tinker, I'll play with linux, but I don't want to have to do first aid on my computer every few months because of the inherent ineptness of the platform. That is what Windows is all about. When I want/need to work, I must rely on a reliable system and Windows + PC is far less of a guarantee than Linux + PC or worse, than a Mac. If I were able to pay myself my hourly rate for all the hours I have had to fix and maintain my Windows boxes I'd easily have a very very nice speaker system, if not a sweet Mercedes.
The second point off putting perhaps at first until one realizes that Apple has made it dirt simple to install multiple operating systems on their machines without the need to tinker with boot loaders, fight with the original operating system etc.
Want Windows on there? No problem. Linux too? Sure why not. Takes all of 1 minutes to ready the system and then the usual time of installing the OS.
Don't want to go that route? What about linux packages or bsd ones via Macports or Fink? Or what about really smooth VM enviros? A Mac has become THE development platform because of its flexibility.
Upfront, a Mac will set someone back more. However the time and money necessary to keep it running will be significantly less over time than a similarly spec'd Windows/PC system. Moreover, the ease of use for the average user will be significantly greater and for the power user, one enjoys about the best there is outside of a custom build mega machine.