Of course, the Apple "premium" for hardware goes a long way back -- the big deal was the proprietary system that you couln't just go to the computer store and upgrade, whereas PC users could upgrade and rebuild with good low-price parts. I haven't checked the Apple way for a while -- did the move to Intel change this a lot? I know that Apple charges a premium for parts, but you can also get, say, regular memory cards -- how about other stuff, like adding I/O, for example? Can you get "off the shelf" stuff to upgrade?
But the appreciation for Apple products has been well-earned -- an elegant and robust OS goes a long way with users. It still had a good reputation before OSX. In fact, I saw part of a discussion with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, actually sitting down with each other, and Bill Gates had nothing but praise for the quality of the innovation that Jobs has led Apple into.
Now, Apple users also have for many years promoted the "security" superiority over Windows. I'd say that's a mixed bag. Windows has grown more secure over the years as they moved from single user systems into a "real world internet" system, but they are always going to be subject to people probing and attacking them because they are the "big target". Apple on the other hand (and Unix/Linux) were not bothered because they were so small compared to MS -- nobody bothered. But as Apple grows in its position due to the iPod/iPhone/iPad explosion, well, I'd say the target grows on them as well. And correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't we actually seen viruses crop up on Macs?
But a problem that still seems to be there is the "closed" OS, or maybe just the fact that it's still a smaller market. Apple has had great products, especially for the "creative" types (art, video production) but has always followed behind in the diversity of products available. I know it's been coming along, but has the Apple system "opened up" more to outside programmers? I know that Microsoft has had a pretty open platform for programming from back in the MS-DOS days, maybe even more open than Unix was (less protection). Things have tightened up security-wise in Windows, for sure, but still you have some great programming tools that allows you to develop powerful Windows apps, not just "scripts" -- and here I'm ignorant -- does Apple have programming platforms that allow a user to fully develop apps from the ground up?