1) IR remote??? That is some archaic shit. Try Apple's free "Remote" app on your iPod Touch or iPhone for full control of iTunes, or you could try any of the plethora of third party remote applications.
2) Apple's product line may not have "amazing spec/price ratio" but they simply just work, every time, all the time, without fail. Unlike any PC you can name that may look better on paper, but is flakey as hell, like most PCs. So how's about you get a clue?