In the article, Hesseldahl asserts that "Yes, $699 beats the $2,800 you'd pay for a Mac with a 17-in. screen. But when it comes to PCs, there's still a great deal more to buy." He's not talking about putting a price tag on design, either.
He explains this disconnect by outlining unspoken costs that come with PCs. For example, security: With a $699 PC, you need to pay for antivirus protection beyond the trial period, somewhere in the range of $50 per year. That's at least $150 over three years, if not more. A four-digit Mac won't need antivirus, Hesseldahl writes.
Then, service: WIth a $699 PC, a third-party vendor such as Best Buy's Geek Squad will charge you $129 to diagnose an ailing PC. Apple's Genius Bar? Free.
Same goes for software bundles: Apple's iLife multimedia suite is simply more capable than whatever comes preloaded on a PC, he says, and applications such as Photoshop Elements and Garageband are costly to replicate on a PC.
The list goes on, citing Apple battery life, screen resolution, and overall consumer satisfaction. It's a reasonable argument, though I wish there was a bit more detail -- surely it costs a consumer to depend on a single vendor. Competition does drive down price, after all.
Still, the conclusion is clear: with a Mac, you get what you pay for. With a PC, same deal.
When Hesseldahl asked Apple directly, they had this to say: "A PC is no bargain when it doesn't do what you want."
Be careful what you wish for.