Hey! Where's the strategically placed glass of red wine?!
I've got the impression from reading around that alot of the problems with Windows based PCs is due to the wide (and often unsupported) range of hardware, software and drivers it has to work with. AFAIK Mac OS' don't have this issue as everything is picked so it's compatible. That's obviously not the whole answer but I don't think it's just a case of one OS being inherently better/ more stable than another.
I agree and disagree. This used to be a major issue. It once again becomes one if I have to deal with 9x. Win2k and WinXP are smooth sailing. Get a few drivers, install them all, reboot. Done. Most people, at the worst, use the autostarted setup app from the CD that came in the box for new hardware. The kind of design that made this a problem, though, is alive and well.
The first problem is when you get the situation where the user has to make an uninformed choice, like with the "Found New Hardware" dialog box coming up before the driver can be installed. Things like that are little things that should not happen without the user deciding to investigate it. OS X removes, or at least heavily streamlines, these parts of the interface. Such choices occur many times installing and removing software, and much moreso in Windows than in OS X or any modern Linux distro.
Apple takes even more care for their own stuff to make it just work
better than others, typically having to stick in your root/user PW and accept a EULA as the worst of it. Many third-party native apps are built with similar ease of use and ease of installation in mind, often when they don't have to be.
As an example of having to make such choices, how many Windows installers ask you...
* Where to install the application?
* For one user or all? (note: this should really be an aspect of the above question)
* What of a very small amount of components do you want (things like office suites need these options--my web browser doesn't)?
* Do you want to read the readme/help?
* What of three shortcut locations do you want to use?
* Do you want to immediately launch the application?
...when the interface should just be designed to make them all moot, except in special scenarios. Microsoft has done things to allow these options to be optional, but have not enforced them, even for their own software (leaving the standard for others to follow lower than it should be).
The second problem is that people install software that is bad for their PC. There is no fix for this. Lessening normal permissions will help, but cannot stop bad social engineering problems. Macs have an easier time, here, with a small amount of easily avilable third-party software, except Free and open source (which, by philosophy of most developers, tend to leave your OS well enough alone!).
As to the upgradeability of iMacs - considering that it's largely games that drive the PC upgrade path and there are v. few games written for Macs it's a bit of a non-issue. I'm sure a dual core computer will be able to handle pretty much everything happily for several years to come. Besides, most of the people who buy Macs want a computer that works and aren't too fussed about pulling it apart and adding stuff.
While there are games, there are also media editing applications becoming more mainstream, and application bloat. But, with Apple not having anything as lowly as mainstream PC makers, it's not a big deal. I'm still doing fine, but not great, with a 1800+ (1150MHz/5vL1A or 1916MHz/12vL1A, depending on planned needs), and the Core Solo 1.5 should best it easily, across the board.
While not heavily upgradable, Apple has made very wise compromises on the hardware. It is often difficult to configure a Dell or HP that is really a well-balanced machine, because of marketting and guys controlling what options are offered--or you can, and it is the most expensive way to go. Less options is not bad, as long as the options themselves are actually well thought out.
I wonder if the HDD in the iMac is a 7200rpm model or if it's slower? There certainly doesn't seem to be a lot of space in there to keep a 3.5in drive both cool and quiet. I wonder what drive it is for it to be so quiet, considering that even rubber grommet mounted HDDs transmit vibration to a PCs case.
At 160GB, 250GB, and 500GB, it must be 3.5". Cool shouldn't be a problem, but I wonder about quiet, as well (I do not doubt that it is, and the machine is big enough for such a drive, but there must be some little tricks being used).
Other than that it certainly does seem to be a sound (ha ha) solution to alot of peoples desires for stabile functional computer. Not for me but I can see why people go for them.
I could definitely live with the Mac Mini, though...with multiple OSes, and running from a full-sized HDD, of course