Ignoring the haters and fanboys, here is the unbiased reason as to why Apple products are overpriced.
For a start, Apple sells their products at an 18% gross profit margin compared to other manufacturers which barley make any profit. This is good business sense for Apple as it keeps them in the black.
Secondly, Apple's costs are high on their notebooks. Why? Because they use quality parts from the ground up. For example, instead of moulded plastics, they use a block of aluminum and laser cut it to size, then attach all the parts inside that single block. This is a more expensive process in all aspects, but results in higher build quality, showed by the low number of faults in their first year due to accidents. Their screens are much sharper than most of the competition. They are the only manufacturer on the market with a functional, highly sensitive and useful multi-touch track pad, made from frosted glass. Most of the competition use plastics. The list goes on.
Their computers are entirely custom made. From the ground up, Apple do EVERYTHING themselves, they buy the parts, put the parts together. The tech guys write the operating system from scratch to work 100% with their parts, this of course raises costs but increases functionality and makes certain that the computer and its components will work in perfect unison. This also increases the ability for Apple to give effective customer support, they write the software, the operating system AND make the computer themselves, making them quite unique in the marketplace.
Their computers are leaner than Windows based PCs. Vista chews up around 15GB of HDD, 7 chews up around 10GB, while Snow Leopard uses around 7GB. 7 uses around 800mb when idle of memory on system tasks, while Snow Leopard uses around 400mb. So in essence, snow leopard gives you more memory to play with. Also, it is lighter on CPU usage, GPU usage, the list goes on.
In a lot of ways, Apple are LIKE the BMW of computers, but different. Yes, they are expensive, but because of their process of construction, and dedication to their product. Also, they do need to feed their families, and keep the shareholders happy as well. Finally, they do not "cheap out" like a lot of other companies, they will stick their ground with pricing, and punish any reseller who under prices their products. Apple do not like to sell to the masses, they prefer to deal with individuals, on a no pressure to buy basis, which is why they have Apple stores with specialist techies and bookings for one on one demos and support.
I have an Apple MacBook Pro and a Lenovo Y510. The Mac is my favorite, but the Lenovo is my toy, I use the Lenny for gaming, and the Mac for movies. I can recommend either just as happily, but it depends on the person. If your an avid gamer, you don't want a Mac, you want a Dell XPS. If you like simplicity and security, then you want a Mac. If your on a budget, you buy a Toshiba, if you prefer quality over quantity, buy a Mac. They are very different computers, the MacBook cost me $1800, and it certainly feels like an $1800 computer should. Yes, it doesn't have the big hard drive, but its unnecessary on a computer like this. Yes, it doesn't have as much graphics memory, but again, it doesn't need it. The CPU is average, but it runs cool and rarely needs to run at full 2.53GHz. It makes up for itself in other areas, like the quality keyboard with back-lighting, a secure Unix-esque kernal, custom software, superior disk managment and networking utilities, and an overall quality feel.
I hope this answers your question in a moderately unbiased perspective, I try to give an unbiased answer to questions like this from both sides without falling for the marketing hype or fanboy fanaticism.
years of tech experiance