Over on Apple matters there is a nice long essay on how a mac and a pc are similar, but that a mac is still better.
I think that the reason as to why an Apple solution is better than a PC based one is in the little things that add to meaning. Kathy paints the picture over on Creating Passionate Users
Having spent months traveling with my Samsung laptop with XP pro and similar hardware spec to my PowerBook, I swear I am never jumping on a plane without my PowerBook again. It may involve having to take two computers.
Working for a Windows based software company, I spend most of my day using various flavours of Microsoft product, and for the 95% case, it is all there. And on features the Microsoft product will often beat the Apple product.
So what’s the difference?
When asked why user switching was done using over the top rotating cubes, Apple responded with (roughly) “Because we could”. In reality, by adding the extra touches, the extra niceties, they are adding meaning to their products. This is reflected in the loyalty of their users.
I write this to you, from the keyboard of my PowerBook :)