hmm...general comments re: the commentary thus far...
"i had a mac 3 yrs ago..." does not apply to a mac being bashed now. if you don't have experience w/ current products, qualify your opinion as such. many who are dissing apple seem to have been taking the noted stance.
i agree that there are some ways in which apple limits your choices in the OS. my mx700 gives me the 2 buttons and scroll to work with. installing the drivers, gives me control over all 7 buttons if i see fit to use them. the touchpad controls r relatively simplistic. i use sidetrack to give me H/V scrolling, corner controls over exposé, 2nd mouse button use, and "windows" mouse acceleration. i agree that os x's cursor acceleration feels off, but then i installed sidetrack so quickly after getting my iBook that i didn't use it long enough to recognize any benefits to it. while it feels slower, this would likely be useful in precision oriented work like in graphics programs.
as for some, it seems your interests would be better served in a general or compaq forum. if that's the case, start some new posts therein. i promise not to come in and berate the brand or laptop that i may personally disagree with.
w/ re: to performance i would agree w/ a comment i saw in another thread...if u want one application to run as swiftly and crisply as possible, u could get a PM laptop. if u want to run multiple applications of any substance and still be able to actually switch to and use all of them and the rest of the OS get the iBook or PB.
for example, last night i had open, powerpoint w/ 2 video-rich presentations and also editing therein, chatting in AIM & MSN, 2 640x480 video clips in quicktime, entourage checking email every 10 minutes, 5 firefox windows w/ 3-5 tabs open in each, a 70 page word document open, photoshop w/ some minor editing, and iMovie in which i was importing, editing, and encoding video. all of this was open at the same time, the iMovie imports and encoding going on almost consistently in the background. my athlon 3200+ desktop windows PC, could likely handle the 1st bunch of items reasonably well. the place where it falters is when u throw something heavy at it like video editing & conversion. w/ re: to multitasking my PC slows to a crawl when encoding video. my iBook essentially says, "thank you, may i have another?" (as i type this i'm importing to iMovie, which means converting your video to DV, watching a DVD and i still have quicktime, powerpoint, and firefox up and running. very nice.)
despite abf's complaints, i've found that my OS loads faster on my iBook than on my desktop, as well as a host of other programs like entourage (MS office mac version of Outlook), word loads documents in the same time, i haven't found any media files that i can't play and i play w/ quite a few, i network and access files on either computer (tho my iBook seems a more savvy networker. there are times when my PC can't see my iBook on the network but my iBook can still see and access my PC). all this said i'm a relatively new Mac user. my iBook will be 3 months old this month. switching to the OS has been easy, and the ease of use and multitasking capacity of this machine has blown me away. i'd highly recommend it for "easy" computing given what i have thrown at it.
if u can get by w/ the stock 12" or 14" iBooks, i'd recommend ordering from amazon. i got mine (12" iBook) for $899 w/ free shipping and no taxes, after a $100 mail in rebate, which came in a prompt 5 weeks.