I checked the possibilities to build a hackintosh. As I was going to run OSX and nothing else I wanted to build a setup as close to Apples own setup. So I went googling for part, and compare it to Apples MacPro.
When summing the parts up, I would have got a similar computer, with just a little better graphics card than the MacPro, for 100€ more than the MacPro.
Needles is it to say, that I went for a pre built nicely designed computer ready to be used out of box instead. So i bought my MacPro in september 2006. I ended up paying less than 100€ compare to build it myself. I was ready to pay 200€ more for that luxury.
When it comes to the MacBook Air, the first model, there was no standard components to be used. Hence the price tag. Some months later Intel came out with a design study that heavily built on Apples and Intels cooperation for the first MacBook Air. Only after that we saw PC makers go this route too.
So there is no doubt that Apple did just this: "inspiring the PC market to follow suit".
That's what Apple has always done. The Apple II who made e.g. IBM understand the need for PC's. Apple pioneered this field with the Apple II. Technically not the first PC, but the first to actually be targeted to non technical people as a PC.
Then they made the Apple Lisa and Macintosh, pioneering GUI for PC's. Then they built the ECO system that runs the whole iDevice world, then the iPhone and then the iPad.
All of this apple inspired the PC market to follow suit in. Just pure facts.
That doesn't say that an Apple device i best, or only one. In some fields using an Apple device is not even possible. But the market has followed suit after Apple's leadership in how computers will be used and made. Though that might actually translate to one person, Steve Jobs. Apple was not taking the next steps while he was absent. They didn't ship any game changers for over a decade.
Except from the flopped Pipin, here MS took the concept and made the xBox. With one difference Pippin was an open platform, not so for the xBox. No wonder pippin flopped.