That is the question. I’ve spent a **lot** of time thinking about whether I should go for an Apple when I buy my next laptop. Not that I am going to buy one anytime soon, but I like thinking about such things :)
Alright, so what are the pros — naturally, drop dead looks, funky style, and best of all — things just work ™. Right from the LCD brightness changing depending on idle times, to the ‘hibernate fast, resume even faster (before you can open the lid)’ — the folks at Apple have done a great job of making their laptops highly usable. Neighbors envy, owners pride. The upcoming OS X 10.4 (tiger, is it?) has some really nifty new features, and of course the kernel (Darwin) being open source helps a lot.
So where are my doubts? Its a bit economical, but mostly philosophical. Clearly, Apples are much more pricey than competitive products for the hardware you get — their processors are not the fastest, RAMs not the greatest, drives not the best. The philosophy part is that Apple restricts choice — you’re bound by their hardware, their software — upgrades are difficult, both to hardware and software; you can’t experiment with other applications and OSes.
Of course, this is pretty much why Apple have such a good laptop. Its an excellent example of vertical integration put to good use — when you control everything right from the BIOS to the registers on your machine, its not that difficult to get a laptop to resume in seconds, than if you have to deal with a gazillion different cards from a zillion different vendors.
Right now, I like playing around with my laptop — I love changes (though they are painful at times). With an Apple, I’d be able to do stuff neatly, but I won’t be able to fool around. When I get old and I can’t stand this kind of non-sense anymore, I might buy one. For now, I somehow don’t think it’ll happen.