I know a lot of students like Macs, but, considering that an Apple is going to set you back approximately twice as much as an equivalent brand name PC (for instance, a $4400 Macbook Pro has features similar to that of a $2200 HP), I would steer clear of them unless you have money to burn. Granted, Macbook pros are probably some of the best engineered laptops on the market, but the quality difference in no way justifies the price difference. It is true that Apples are less prone to viruses, but the same can be said of a $450 Compaq or Dell laptop running Ubuntu.
I couldn't recommend a Macbook Pro more highly. I just ordered myself one for college and am thoroughly impressed. Mac OS X Leopard is a pleasure to work with, but I can easily move over to the Windows partition any time I need to do something that only works on or is more convenient on Windows. Although I won't be playing games on it much, I tested out a few, and they ran very well.
I also purchased a 500 GB Time Capsule Wi-Fi external hard drive. Time Machine in Leopard makes automatic hourly back-ups to the external drive. For the heck of it I decided to restore my computer to a previous date to see how it worked, and sure enough it was a flawless experience.
The Macbook Pro has a lot of small features that make a big difference. Instead of a CD drive, it has a CD bay, so using the CD bay is easy with the laptop in your lap.
The keyboard is bigger than on most laptops, which means it's much easier to type on. The trackpad is also slightly larger and has multi-touch functionality.
Multi-touch is a small innovation, but I use it almost constantly. It makes the trackpad actually viable for use for long periods of time.
The keyboard is backlit and an ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the backlighting automatically.
At the top of the screen is a tiny camera called iSight. The video and sound recording quality are superb considering how small the thing is.
Do you realize it's not even possible to build a $4400 Macbook Pro? I maxed out the specs on a Macbook Pro (not including any additional software, hardware, or AppleCare) and the price was $3,424. It's expensive, but it's nowhere near $4400.
Also, Apple does mark up their price somewhat for the design of the product and the brand name, but the markup is certainly not $2000. If you can find a laptop with equivalent specs that is $2000 cheaper, the manufacturer of that laptop is making a compromise somewhere, probably in build quality. In short, you get what you pay for.
I did not mean to appear rude
As a one-time purchase, an extra $1000 for an Apple might not make a big difference, but if you are buying a new computer every few years, it can really start adding up to a lot of money.
The one thing I will give Apple is that the Macbook Pro is well-engineered, and one of the best looking notebooks on the market, but I do not think that it really justifies the price difference.
I wouldn't be so sure. I've heard plenty of horror stories about Dell's customer service.