I'm going to start by saying that I LIKE Apple products. I have some gripes, but mostly I do think they are still innovating. Apples spends more time on the user experience than Microsoft (despite the name xp, short for experience). Apple develops for the user. That being said, there's one great big reason to avoid the apple. Apple really *is* evil (Evil Apple, has a nice ring). I know the Apple Fan boys (and girls) don't like hearing that, but someone has to say it. Allowing apple to gain market share hurts us all. Plenty of people are saying, "but Apple's so much better than Microsoft."
Microsoft is evil. Microsoft has an enormous amount of control over the IT industry, and Microsoft has abused that power. They routinely re-invent the wheel, and they actively work to force their products down your throat despite your best efforts to spit it out. For example, video games force me to use Microsoft. And if I have to use it in one place, then it's easier to use it everywhere. What would be Microsoft's incentive to help make video game companies use alternate OSes. They're glad they only work in Windows.
Apple tries the same evil tactic. Apple would likely be worse. After all, a PC doesn't restrict you to Microsoft only hardware. Apple does. You cannot buy the Apple OS and then go out and buy ASUS's latest and greatest motherboard and use it. You just can't do that. ASUS is just one example, there are literally dozens of big companies that are threatened by Apple, and those companies (many are great companies) keep the price we pay for a computer down by providing competing products. Why did Apple switch to Intel chips? Market pressure, IBM couldn't keep up with AMD and Intel with their chips. That would never have happened if those companies didn't exist. Apple wouldn't be pushing the inexpensive Mac mini. They are because they want to gain market share. Real example of this? Look at my Rig in the top right. That was a top of the line machine when I bought it (5/26/2005). And it still runs the latest games. Total Cost: $764.47. High End Apple $2,499.00, and you're still only getting 1MB RAM, you get Dual Core processors, but only 2.66 Ghz.
Don't buy Apple. At least, not yet. Not until they free their Operating System. Not until they allow DELL, HP, etc to sell their Desktops with an Apple OS. For all the great thinking Steve Jobs has done to "turn Apple around," he's still missing something, something very important. No savvy IT person is going to say that you should buy Apple. Save the world, buy a PC. If you really want to be a Hero, try a real operating system like Linux or Unix. Install Ubuntu, you'll find it to be easier than installing Windows, easier than installing Apple products. You'll have to learn the interface, but when you're done, you'll be a good IT citizen. And you be more tech savvy than all your neighbors.
My message to Steve Jobs: We don't want a vertical monopoly in place. Microsoft was able to monopolize the Market because they didn't try to get a vertical monopoly. The world is yours if would just follow the path to success.
I can't leave Bill Gates out. If I was Bill (which I'm not), I would keep with the Windows strategy until it died (which is inevitable). In preparation for that day I would be following the Mac/Sun strategy. Enhance an existing open source OS like Unix or Linux. Be ready for it, sooner or later the hardware vendors (ASUS, DELL, HP) will realize they win if Open Source wins. So you'd better be prepared for that day.