As long as you use reputable apps like MS apps, Adobe and others, and protect yourself when you go online, I feel that WinXP is a very reliable OS.
If you still decide to go with the MAC (I use both WIN and MAC PCs), you should have no problems getting similar, if not THE SAME apps to work under MAC OS. For example, MS makes a verision of the OFFICE suite which includes Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, etc that is designed specifically for the MAC. The suite is called Entourage, and it is available in Academic versions for just over $100!
I want to buy a notebook PC. I like the Apple Powerbook (12.1") because I have heard they are more reliable. Ive only used PCs and Windows before and have been since I was 6 or 7 (I am now 21). The laptop will be used for my senior year of college and then Grad school. I am somewhat concerned about compatability with mp3 players, cameras, and the like as well as programs like microsoft works and money because all of my files are microsoft based. Is there any way to reconcile this?