Ever since Apple's introduction of the Macintosh in 1984, the company's computers have been accepted as being "more expensive" than their Windows/Intel counterparts. While at times that may have been true, Apple's move to Intel, as well as the introduction of the Mac Mini, have introduced new, lower price-points to bring the systems in line with Windows competition, and the company's success with the iPod music player has brought the Apple experience to a swath of new customers who wouldn't otherwise have considered the Macintosh.
That's all well and good, you say? Well, lucky for us, others have done the hard work of comparing like systems between the Macintosh world and the Windows world, feature by feature and part by part - putting the systems in easy to understand buckets, such as midrange laptops and desktops. By far the best and most consistent offering is Charles Gaba's "Mac vs. PC System Shootouts". It's worth taking a look at System Shootouts before you make a decision on your next computer. Make sure you know what you need, and what your budget is, and the site will find a solution that meets your requirements. Apple doesn't always win, but you'd be surprised how often it does.