THe 6502 was an amazing processor. the Apple II was also a 6502. Unlike it's near contemporaries, the 8086 and Z-80 (and 6800), the instruction set was reduced. It had only 2 data registers (A,B) and two 8 bit address registers ( X Y) and fewer complicated ways to branch. Instead it effectively memory mapped the registers by using instructions like, offset Y by A, treat that as an address and get the byte at that location. Because it could do all that in one clock cycle, This effectively gave it 256 memory mapped registers. It also didn't have separate input lines for perifprials, and instead memory mapped those.
Nearly every instruction took a microsecond. Thus while the clock rate was 1 Mhz, it was much faster than a 4 Mhz 8080 series chip since those could take multiple cycles to do one instruction. Few memory chips (mainly static memory) could keep pace with that clock rate so the memory would inject wait states that further slowed the instruction time. The 6502's leisurley microsecond time was well matched to meory speeds. Moreover, on the 6502 only half the clock cycle was used for the memory fetch. This left the other half free for other things to access memory on a regular basis.
The regularity of that free memory access period was super important. it meant you could do two things. First you could backside the video memory access onto that period. On the 8080s using main memory you could often see gltiches on video displays that would happens when the video access was overridden by the CPU access at irregular clock cycles. As a result most 8080 series based video systems used dedicated video card like a CGA or EGA. Hence we had all these ugly character based graphics with slow video access by I/O in the Intel computer world. In the 6502 world, we had main memory mapped graphics. This is why the C64/Amiga/Apple were so much better at games.
This regular clock rate on the main meory had a wonderful side effect. It meant you could use Dynamic memory which was faster, cheaper, denser, and MUCH MUCH lower power than static memory. With the irregular access rates of the 8080 refreshing a page of dynamic memory requird all sorts tricky circuitry that trried to opportunistically find bus idle times to increment the dynamic refresh address, occasionally having to halt the CPU to do an emergency refresh cycle before the millisecond window of memory lifetime expired. As a result, the 8080 seris computers like Cromenco, Imsai, altair and Northstar all had whopper power supplies and big boxes to supply the cooling and current the static memory needed.
So the C64s and Apples were much nicer machines. However they had a reputation of being gaming machines. At the time that didn't mean "high end" like it does now. It mean toys. the Big Iron micros were perceived as bussiness machines.
Oddly that was exactly backwards. But until Visicalc, the bussiness software tended to be written for the 8080 series.
I think it was this memory mapping style rather than formal I/O lines to dedicated cards for periphrials (keyboard decoders, video, etc..) that lead apple to strive for replacing chips with software. they software decoed the serial lines (rather than using USART chips) they soft sectored the floppy drives rather than using dedicated controller chips, etc... And that was what lead to making the macintosh possible: less hardware to fit in the box, lower cost chip count, lower power more efficient power supplies.
Eventually however the megahertz myth made the PCs seem like more powerful machines than the 68000 and powerPC.