In recent CNET news, Editor Rick Broida has a column on how to get into the OS X experience relatively cheaply, with $400 iBooks from Buy.com. Additionally, Editor Brook Crothers discusses how Apple is using technology that may compete with the offerings of Intel, which could lead to a rivalry of sorts. Apple and Intel have worked well together in recent years, but sooner or later their paths are bound to conflict.
Granted these are older hardware, and unless you are interested in portability a refurbished Mac Mini might be a better suited alternative; however, the iBooks should work for people looking for a hobby. Rick Brodia is constantly looking for cheap hardware and having a portable Mac that will run Leopard for under $400 from a retailer is pretty cheap. Check out Rick's article.
Apple has recently hinted they are looking to develop their own custom semiconductors for use in thier devices--namely the iPhone and iPod touch devices. Additionally, there are options from other companies such as the ARM chips which may keep Apple from adopting Intel's low-power "Atom" option. As Apple gains marketshare with portable devices, will this lead to a conflict between them and Intel? Check out Brook's article.