including software, aesthetics, battery life for portables, peripherals, customer service, etc
I'll concede to 50% of those.
(lose) Software, 5 years ago, for sure. Nowadays I feel a lot of Open Source stuff has knocked apples range on its head.
Garage band falls to its knees in front of LMMS ()
My mates a film student\part time Director and tells me FinalCut is quite quickly dying to Adobe (for the 3rd time? the balance shifts, i'm sure it'll swing back, lol)
Office suites, well Open source rules there. I've used Mac's suite, and Office, and they both fail next to LibreOffice, slow, clunky, and overly 'feature rich' for an office suite.
The list can go on and on, software I'm going to disagree with; they're also front-end unconfigurable a lot of the time (re: 'Mail').
(win) Aesthetics? yep, OK. They're pretty. The trade off is the unibody 'no fix' design, which makes me uncomfortable, but its how they run. They can have Aesthetics. (but google some of the macbook clones from HP and the like.... they're really not alone)
(win) battery life for portables; yeah. Its not bad. No user changable battery, but they can have a tick here too.
(draw) Peripherals... quality or aesthetics?
As someone who uses purely Mac peripherals on his windows systems, they just don't take a beating well, but they're pretty. You also pay a HUGE premium on these, and that's not deniable. When I can buy the same wireless keyboard, from china, for $8, as I can here for $99; thats price gouging.
And yes, I own both, and yes, they're identical. So, yah, they're nice to use, but they dont last, and they're taxed to HELL.
(win) Customer service, without a doubt. For 99% of the population, fucking amazing. PERSONALLY I hate the fact that their staff are trained in the KISS methodology, because if I have even a SLIGHTLY technical question, they don't know. But not everyones a geek. So that's a win.
The list can go all day. As I said, I'm able to recognize where their place is. I just think its a lot less widespread than people imply and the aesthetics is what won them at the beginning, but that's society. Looking at their profit margins for last year, Yeah, I'd say they can afford to lower the 'Apple tax' even if its already low.
Re your hackintosh experience. I don't disagree, as I said, its like installing linux. You don't need clone hardware, but you DO need hardware on the 'supported list'. My point was that if pumpjockey02 was waiting for a new mac to be able to GAME on it, I'd have honestly considered the h'tosh a better choice.
I already said though, outside a geek forum where mods and hacking were the focus for most of its life, I wouldn't suggest it, so don't stress :)