If you're going to spend the money for a MacBook, then you're looking at some reasonably high-end systems. For the same money or a bit less, you can get a well-specced PC laptop, so for the money either will do well with just about anything you'd throw at a laptop. If you don't want to chance Windows 8 (and I don't blame you for that), Windows 7 is still available everywhere. Keep in mind that a MacBook can run Windows in parallel with OSX (which, by the way, isn't very similar to iOS which is what the iPad runs, but it's not hard to learn so there's no reason to shy away just on the basis of the OS) so if you go with a MacBook you can get both. I'll agree with getting as much memory as possible, since upgrading the hard drive is usually a lot easier and cheaper than memory upgrades for a lappy.
"The OS is easy to use, might take a bit of getting used to if you've been a PC user, but I don't see any reason to have a Windows OS on the Mac (I know people do it, but I don't know why . . . any explanations out there?)"
Mostly it's because they're running an application that requires Windows, and can't do without it. For example, I have to have Windows available on my machines because many of the applications we sell don't run on anything else and I have to support them, so if I bought a MacBook I'd have to run Parallel and install a Win partition.