4GB of memory isn't much for windows 8. a 5400RPM hard disk drive is pretty slow, compared to the preferred SSD. 4 cell lion battery probably isn't going to give you much in the way of battery life.
My mother in law bought an idea pad a while back. It was a piece of junk, it broke multiple times in the 1 year that they had it. After one year, they finally put it in a drawer and purchased a MAC. They have not had ANY problems since. Now, I will tell you, that I make my living supporting Microsoft products, spend all day staring at a windows 8 laptop, and know the product suite better than most IT professionals.
For the casual computer user, aka what you are describing your parents as. The Mac book pro or mac book air, is the way to go. A macintosh can't do everything that a PC can, but what it does do, it does simply enough that most people can pick it up and hit the ground running.
Windows 8 is a good operating system, but honestly, it has alot of quirks that makes me prefer Windows 7 most of the time. Having a touch screen does help navigate it, but it is not without its faults.