I would think twice about the laptop idea if teenagers are going to be using it. Especially teenage girls. You also paint yourself into a corner gaming wise with a laptop. Most laptops are not meant for gaming. The displays have higher response rates, which causes ghosting, the video cards are usually integrated chipsets, and when they're not, they're stripped down versions of last generation desktop cards. And Mac or PC, you're going to have very limited upgrade options hardware wise.
If you go the PC route, I wouldn't bother waiting for Vista. If you get a system now, you'll almost certainly get a free upgrade coupon for Vista.
If you go the Mac route, you really only get OS X, which has offered most of the features Vista was supposed to have, for going on a year now.
When it comes to the use of hardware like digital cameras or camcorders, OS X will probably work far better. Virtually all digital cameras and camcorders Just Work(th) with OS X. You plug them in, it launches iPhoto or iMovie, and starts importing the data. No need to futz around with driver installations and all that other Windows garbage.
Macs will also come with fairly competent photo and movie editing software as part of the iLife suite. They are aimed at the hobbyist sort of user more than the professional.
The PC route is like being nickel and dimed to death. You buy a camera, which comes with a stripped down version of some software package that removes all the useful features. So you have to buy something to get those features. These little expenses keep piling up, until you've paid out a small fortune... Only to find that one software package causes problems with another, and so then you get to spend many fun hours listening to the Musak version of Muskrat Love over the phone waiting for some ill trained person in India with an accent so thick you can make out every third word if you're lucky. With a Mac, things tend to Just Work(tm). The catch is, if they don't work right away, it can be near impossible to get them to work. However, this rarely happens. My mother just got a brand new digital camera for Christmas, and I plugged it into her PowerPC based Mac Mini running an older version of iPhoto, and it had no problem downloading the images.
To sum all this up... I would strongly rethink the laptop idea, but if you do go the laptop route (or desktop), I'd go with a Mac. Apple has the best quality laptops out there, and if your primary uses of the computer involve office work and photo/video editing, a Mac is the way to go. The newer ones can even dual boot with Windows XP (probably Vista too eventually), so you don't lose anything. You pay more, but you're paying for quality parts, which are all tightly integrated with the operating system in a way that just isn't possible on the PC.
I've finally made the decision to buy a new computer after over 6 years!! I narrowed down my search to a 2GHZ Processor Dual 2 Core, 1GB of RAM, 100-120 GB of Hard Drive.
I decided to get a laptop which will replace our desktop at home. I have two daughters ages 12 & 15 that will be using it mainly for photo & video editing. They probably won't be into gaming too much, but will definitely still want the ability. I also want to use it as a home office computer as well to access my company's system.
My two main concerns are, should I wait till the VISTA O/S comes out, seeing that it's only a few more weeks. Or will I get a good deal on a computer with the Windows XP Pro O/S?
The other concern is, should I go PC or MAC. Most people would probably say it's a personal preference. I'm really on the fence, I know a PC will probably be half the price of a MAC, and then I'm also concerned about software & hardware issues on a MAC. Would I be limited in options if I go with a MAC? My family purchased a digital camera SRL, Digital camcorder, but we don't have a decent computer to use!! Talk about putting the cart before the horse!!
Hope someone can help me out.
Thanks so much,