The March issue of Consumer Reports has a very good article on buying a new desktop or laptop. If you want to see how non-geeks writing for non-geeks rate computers, definitely pick up a copy at the newsstand or subscribe to the web version and read the article.
Every year, Consumers Union sends out zillions of questionnaires to their readers asking them about which things they own, how often they break down, and how was the service they got when they got the broke-down things repaired. For computers, the results are interesting.
- For desktops, Apple had the fewest repairs needed.
- For laptops, all the major brands had about the same number of repairs needed.
- For tech support on both desktops and laptops, Apple had much better scores from CR's readers than the nearest competition.
For me, recommending Apples means recommending things that will not frustrate users. They break down less often (or the same as everyone else, for laptops), and when they break down, users have a much better repair experience. That's more important even than "they are easier to use" and "they are less prone to security issues", and certainly more important than "owning one makes you feel cool".