Design is great. They push the design to be something out of the norm and catch the eye. Its not "blah" like Clevo, Gateway, Lenovo or Acer. And its not a copy of Apple Macbook like HP, Samsung or the new Razor Blade. The only designers I think are comparable are the Asus team (their GW series are interesting and out of the norm as well).
I agree that the design and performance of Alienware's products are outstanding. But I wouldn't compare the products with Apple's products. I think Apple's products are incomparable. It is just me though.
Putting the Dell factor aside, I think Alienware is a statement about your intentions with your machine. People see a Mac and think "Oh they have a mac, they probably spent a lot of money on that, they're probably only using it for study/office work". I see another Alienware and I think "Oh shit an Alienware! That's awesome I'm gonna go see if they'll have a chat about it, see how theirs stacks up to mine"
I don't see a Mac and think "I wonder what kind of parts are in that or what games do you play.
Alienware laptop aren't the thinnest but I know that my laptop is probably better than Mr. Mac/Compaq/HP/Toshiba/Etc and I have the style to go with it.
Alienware, the best thing is that ALL its hardware are in full compatibility, i mean... Some laptops have their hardware running at 80%~90%, because some accessories are not fully compatible with others they have.
But the only thing that makes Alienware a top ranked gaming laptop, its the STYLE. If you watch ROG laptops, they just look the same as ASUS normal laptops.