OS 9 was certainly faster than OS X, much like Windows 3 was faster than Windows Vista. Of course, an OS that old also does a lot less.
Have fun shopping in the months ahead! And as you may know, the best sales on Apple products are often to be found either at Amazon, or at store.apple.com at bottom left. (Now, if you qualify for education pricing from Apple, that's also a great discount.)
As for arrogance... better steer clear of Apple AND Microsoft
(You're right that Microsoft looks to the past more. It's their catch-22: if they don't look to the past they lose their locked-in user base and there goes the monopoly. Yet looking back slows down innovation, leaving OS X light years ahead. Microsoft's monopoly is both their blessing and their curse.)
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