To answer your questions in full would take several pages ... and that from each of several posters!
Briefly ... 1, Windows based computers may last a little longer as they can often be more easily repaired.
2. Lots of people love Macs and say Macs are wonderful. (I do)
4. No. I can use one and that says a lot because I am completely non technical.
And if you still believe your user name ... go out and buy the latest.
The case of Apple v. Windows is a subjective argument. Both systems have their merits, both have some aspects that some users don't like. Much depends on what you actually want to use them for.
Here is some reading material for you!
A Customer Experience Index report from Forrester Research came to the conclusion after studying almost 4,600 computer users' experiences from 2008 and asking them to score the ease of use of their computers, how enjoyable the experience is and whether or not the systems fulfill their owners' needs.
PC World (December 2010) has also found Apple products and after-sales service the most reliable:
Switching from Windows to Mac:
Let me answer 2 questions:
2. Because people can say anything about any product. When someone tells you that "Macs are crap" ask that person if he/she ever used one. If he/she says no--dismiss the comment. If he/she says yes, ask what happened.
4. My first Mac was a PowerBook G4. I can honestly say that it taught me how to use a computer. It was forgiving of mistakes, rarely locked up and was intuitive. I've used PCs in a business setting and I'm convinced that Macs are just simpler.
I have no idea where you live. But, why not find a nearby Apple Retail Store, take a look around and talk to the salespeople. You'll get honest information without pressure.