I know it's been discussed a lot, but I wanted to share a comparison I've been doing between an iBook and a Dell notebook to give an example of the cost hurdle switchers face. I've only owned Mac's (currently an iMac DV with a 400 MHz G3 running OS9), and have been considering adding a notebook for general use in our home. This would be lots of web surfing, email, letter writing, and probably iLife-type stuff. It occurred to me that having a PC around for access to the zillion PC aps (without having to deal with Virtual PC) might be nice, so I started looking at what Dell had to offer. Here's what I found. Dell's 4150 is a very close match in many features to a 14" iBook: Dell 4150 P4M 1.8 GHz 512K Cache 512 MB 266 Mhz DDR 14" (1600x1200) ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 with 32 MB AGP 4X 30 GB Disk PCMCIA 1.47" x 12.5" x 10.0" 5.6 - 6.2 lbs iBook G3 800 MHz 512K Cache 256 MB PC100 14" (1024x768) ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 with 32 MB AGP 2X 30 GB Disk Firewire 1.35" x 12.7" x 10.2" 5.9 lbs Comparing the cost of these systems, including WiFi support, additional memory for the iBook, and an extended warranty (which I really want for a notebook) is amazing: Dell 4150 Base Price $1299 (after rebate) Extra Memory included WiFi Card included WiFi Router $ 110 Ext Warrenty $ 119 Total Cost $1528 This is a special preconfigured system Dell's been offering for several months. iBook (from the Apple store) Base Price $1499 Extra Memory $ 150 WiFi Card $ 79 WiFi Router $ 199 Ext Warrenty $ 249 Total Cost $2176 The iBook package prices out 42% more expensive than a very similarly equipped Dell laptop! I could probably save about $200 buying mail order to get memory bundled and using a cheaper WiFi router instead of the Airport, but still, this is a much more expensive system than what the PC world is offering. I certainly understand that the iBook is offering me a much better software environment, but I really miss the value my iMac DV was 3 years ago. I also find myself wanting to play a waiting game: if the iBook is this expensive, aren't they sure to drop the prices soon? I haven't done a similar comparison between a Dell desktop system and and iMac, but I suspect the Apple premium is even greater in that case. I'm sure I'll end up with an iBook, so can I live without the extra memory on the iBook? Is the 256 MB it comes with enough for what I'll be doing? I'd like to buy from the Apple store if I can but I don't want to pay for the memory it takes to make the system reasonable.