Upgrade to last year's model
Two years ago, I got the then just discontinued 2012 Mac Mini for my media serving needs ...
I think that for a lot of knowledgeable people this is the reality - "upgrade" to last year, or the year before's model.
Unless you have pretty specific, high-end needs it's entirely likely that whatever is on-sale at the end of the year at Best Buy or wherever will give you a perfectly fine machine for at least a few years.
For those of us who are a) old enough to be really tired of building our own and b) not rolling in cash, this is the preferred route.
(Though I did in fact just finish building my own box. Figure it's good for the next five years.)
(Re Apple: gave it my best for three years with a Powerbook as my primary machine, but ultimately really, really couldn't work within the Apple paradigm. Something about the way Apple's OS does things just doesn't work for me.)