Part of the appeal of, and the reason people will pay more for a Mac is the reputation. The design is sleek, the product is trendy and Macs have a reputation for being the go-to computers of artists, musicians and designers. Apple has managed to develop a product that people see as stylish, and as a result its market share has grown steadily year after year.
But it's not just about the look and the trends, though both have helped Apple carve out its niche in the computer market. Apple is also known for excellent customer service, with retail stores staffed by knowledgeable employees and tech support that's efficient and effective [source: Apple]. Year after year Apple beats PC makers in consumer satisfaction ratings -- and a lot of factors go into that rating beyond just quality of product, including its excellent customer service and a great buying experience [source: Ogg]. And for some, having the assurance of good support makes it worth shelling out the extra cash to own a Mac.
Some people also think Macs are easier to use than PCs. While that sentiment can vary from person to person, there's no doubt the user interface between the two operating systems is very different. In reality it all comes down to personal preference; there's no hard evidence to say one interface is easier to use than the other.
And let's not forget the role that advertising plays in our perceptions of Macs and PCs. Apple has focused much of its advertising dollars on portraying Mac users as young, creative trend-setters. PC makers, on the other hand, have tended to focus on competitive pricing and flexibility of options [source: Hesseldahl]. Apple hasn't made pricing its focus, so it's not surprising many people have the impression that, when matched head-to-head, a Mac costs more than a PC.
There's certainly a lot that goes into deciding what computer to buy, and a lot of information available to help you make your decision. To learn more about PCs, Macs and computers in general, take a look at the links on the next page.