Is... is that what you're talking about? $1300 for at best a 1.3 GHZ dual-core Intel M (I don't care about "turbo" freq)? Dell has a comparable one for $200 and that gets you a 2.5 GHz dual-core Celeron at worst. The Dell is what fills options 1,2, and 3 above. The Mac breaks 1 & 3. 4 & 5 can most likely be fixed for another $100-400 to pay someone to either rip out 8.1 or skin it to look like XP. You're right in that Apple is Targeting the basic need user. But they're not targeting the basic need user with a limited budget ( the kind of Customer jbolden is talking about above), they're targeting people with more money than sense and a distinct need for "New Shiny"...as they've always done.
And to your last point... Do you really honestly believe that OSX is even CLOSE to XP's interface? The Closest Windows UI that anyone says OSX replicates best is Windows 7, and even then...there's no Start Menu. I've worked with computer illiterate people that had to migrate from XP for one reason or another. The Start Menu has always been critical to the flow they've been comfortable with for 20 years and you wouldn't believe how much teeth pulling was involved to get them to understand the concept of the Aero Taskbar. I mean seriously, have you ever worked with a Windows 9x+ box? Ever? The only MS created interface that even remotely looked or behaved like Mac OS and later OSX was Progman of 3.x fame.