My friend just ordered his new Powerbook. It's brand-new, from Apple's newly announced line of Powerbooks, which were announced just yesterday! It's 15", 1.67GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, 100GB 7200RPM HD, new high-res and brighter display, slot-loading super drive 8x DVD and CD burner/reader. He also bought an iSight camera and a mighty mouse with it. The total was something like $2350.00 including tax. Shipping is free.
Nah, there is a 200%markup to cover shipping costs - you could build an equivalent laptop from components for less than a third of that (and probably get higher spec components).
I'm not bashing anything, nor am I trying to raise Apple to new heights with raves. I'm just putting down my observations and opinions, and well, as it is Apple really impresses me not only with design, but with how functionality seems to be behind every single design choice they make. That's why they impress me so. It's not just that they build pretty technology, the make the pretty facade so useful that in pretty much all cases, it easily matches its counterparts, but in some cases surpasses them with ease--and style.
But their technology is pretty much always at least a year behind the cutting edge ... look at the list you quoted at the top of this post ...
While I agree with you that Apple seems to be out for profit, I disagree with the notion that that's their prime motivation.
Apple (like MS) is a multinational - their only motivation is market share and profit.
They really seem to strive to innovate and make beauty extremely useful. That's why I really respect them. They may be overpriced, and that sucks, but what you get really stands out from the crowd in more than one way.
Another way you could look at it is 'also-ran hardware' in a 'minimalistic design' that reduces choice and expandability.
I don't have a particular axe to grind with Apple, and I'm certainly not an apologist for the MS empire, but genuine innovation has been lost these days because the innovators can't compete.
Apple were innovative in the Apple II and early Mac days, now they just shift pretty boxes.
MS were innovative in the early years, but are now purely cash driven (which is why almost identical versions of Office are released every year that many neither want nor need).
Looking back in time there were some really innovative companies. For example, Acorn in the UK invented RISC technology, and spawned ARM (how many people know the name used to be short for Acorn RISC Machines) but sadly Acorn have been completely lost to the PC consumer world. I still have an Acorn RISC based computer. It is about 15-20 years old now, and still runs faster than modern Windows boxes (and could do things like Desktop publishing far more efficiently than many modern systems) and that was based on a massive 8Mb of RAM and 120Mb of Hard Disc.
Anyone come across XARA graphics package on Windows - an excellent Adobe Illustrator substitute. It was originally written for Acorn Machines and still runs like lightening on those machines.