They've got my money, too - they earned it
I am the pleased-beyond-words owner of a 24" iMac 3.06 Core 2 Duo system for approximately the last six weeks. I have been a professional software developer for nearly 30 years, on everything from microocontrollers to mainframes. I have been developing for Windows from early in the 1.0 prerelease timeframe up until Windows Server 2008. I also have over ten years in Linux; the system to my immediate right is an Acer notebook with Ubuntu, which was my daily muse for over 18 months. I've powered it up exactly nine times in the last six weeks - each of those to transfer files to the Mac.
I briefly dabbled with the Mac in the 1984-1987 time frame, and later got a PowerTower Pro 225 (a 64-bit data path system, I might add) when those were new and shiny. It finally gave up the ghost two years ago; MacOS 8.1 had its fair share of problems, but got the job done nicely; Windows, in comparison, has finally reached across-the-board parity (with 8.1) in this user's and developer's opinion.
What I like about the new system is that it does what Macs have by and large always done: given me what I need in order to accomplish something, and then not yank me out of my concentration zone while I'm doing it. In the early 2000s, I was doing IT support for a (large) mixed Windows/Mac shop in the northwestern US. We had hard data going back over four years that showed, on average, a 74% average productivity improvement by Mac users as compared to Windows usees. We spent an incredible amount of money on the Windows side to try to close that gap, but couldn't. Finally, this company's IT division adjusted chargebacks to reflect the difference in actual support costs and business value. New Mac orders tripled in the first six months of that policy, and tripled again in the next six months. The Windows support people worked like slaves, with massive overtime and heroic effort that often came to naught. This company's Mac support people had not billed a SINGLE hour of overtime - ever - and had user-satisfaction ratings consistently above 90%.
Why am I still excited every time I sit down in front of this Mac, much more so than I have ever been six weeks into a new Windows PC? As my former support colleague used to say, "the difference between a Windows PC and a Mac is.... a Windows [person] tells you everything he had to do to get his work done. A Mac user shows you all the great work she got done. Simple as that."
When I was young and geeky, I enjoyed fiddling with every last bit of software on the system, tweaking that extra 1% of 1% of 1% of "performance" out of it. Now that I've grown up enough to appreciate life away from the keyboard (I'm closer to 50 than 40), I like being able to use a computer the same way I was taught that guys do their shopping:
* Figure out what you want,
* Accomplish the mission,
* Get out and on to the next thing, without any casualties.
I HAD to continually tweak Windows to do anything beyond the basics. I had to regularly tweak Linux so that it could live well in a Windows-dominated world. Other than installing software (a breeze by comparison) and tweaking a (very few) UI preferences, I haven't NEEDED to get greasy with the Mac in order to do anything I've yet set out to. Add to that a startup and shutdown time each well under 15 seconds, and it's clear that Apple appreciates my time. Does Windows?