Prior to getting started, regardless of which camp you support, you have to appreciate great British humor on the current discussion. Now with that out of the way.
For Christmas Ann got me an iPod -- there is a reason this things sell so well. They are just damn easy to use. they of course have their quirks, but they are at least not frustrating to use. My previous MP3 players where the "portable" Creative Jukebox 3 and the "great-for-workouts-if-you-didn't-mind-listening-to-the-same-songs-over-and-over" Creative Nomad IIc. Both of these basically come from the before-iPod-era (BiPE) of portable music players. However, before I get too deep in this, let me segue in true Star Wars fashion...
The real reason is that in the next few months, we need to get Ann a new computer (laptop) before she starts school. Which brings us to tonight's word...
Anyone who has known me for any bit of time knows that I've been firmly situated in the PC camp for quite sometime. It has only been recently that a Apple (especially their laptops) have caused me to waiver from my position. But I'm not concerned about my position... I'm concerned about what I want to support? Someone else's Mac or someone else's PC? I think I'm about fed up supporting SEP (Somebody Else's PC).
I know enough and have a great about of time/money/blood/sweat/tears invested in the x86 PC (as opposed to the closed x86 Mac) platform (both on Windows and Linux) that I still love my IBM Thinkpad (the very last generation of true IBM). However, given the state of virtualization (Parallels) on the Mac, if my Thinkpad suddenly died, at the moment I'd be seriously drawn to a Mac Book.
Let me clarify -- On the subject of Desktops, I would never waiver in my choice -- build my own PC and stick Linux on it (and use virtualization to cover anything I'd need on Windows). I don't like Apple desktop hardware. I like the freedom of choice the open x86 PC platform allows. But when it comes to laptop hardware, there are not a lot of quality products out there. I've sworn off of Dell, Toshiba, Sony... I really liked my ultra-portable Fujitsu, but it died after 5 years of use, to be replaced by a Thinkpad.
Now circling back to what to get Ann in a few months, I can't think of a reason not to get her a Mac Book with Parallels VM Windows XP included. You get a quality platform for all the basic tasks (email, word processing, internet) and for anything that for some unknown reason is purely Windows dependent, you simply start up the VM and run it there (and with Coherence, there is even less of a context switch!).
It was very funny explaining this to Ann. She was devout in the belief that Mac's were "bad" because they were basically incompatible with everything you ever wanted to do. It took me a little while to explain that while it was the case 8 years ago or so (from when this opinion originated), it wasn't the case anymore.
I will probably wait until Leopard comes out (which I think should be soon). Knowing Apple, they will revamp their hardware to coincide with its release.