The problem is when you look at the Mini or the Mac Pro there is nothing innovative in these boxes any more.
And there never was. Aside from early adoption of USB, Apple's FW, and now USB2, Thunderbolt, etc. Apple's hardware innovations were mostly about what to leave out, not about what to have that's different than the competition. There was a time in distant past, when there was such a thing as a CPU war, but that was lost a long time ago when it was clear that the three partners in the PPC CPU development had fundamentally different design goals.
For all intents and purposes, Apple's hardware was for a long time a commodity PC, albeit with better workmanship, cleaner design, better component quality than low-end PC offerings, and less clutter. That's exactly what they were, and that's exactly what they are now.
Apple's innovation was always in the software. Apple can sell commodity hardware at a premium price because of industrial design and superior software. That's pretty much true for all the devices Apple sells, and that's why all the people are wrong who say Apple isn't innovating.
Except for these once-a-decade events when a new class of devices is introduced (personal computer, portable music player, touch-screen mobile computing devices), all Apple innovation is and has been about software. The iPhone is an iPod-Touch with built-in mobile radio, but it's essentially the same basic pocket computer. Just like it once was an option to get laptops with or without WiFi card, or laptops with or without optical drive. The iPad is a big iPod touch, or a big iPhone (depending if it has the mobile radio in it or not).
So Apple sells three device classes: personal computers in a variety of form factors, "traditional" portable music players, touch-screen mobile computers. Traditional portable music players will slowly go away or become a niche product, because the touch-screen mobile computers can do it better.
So Apple really, in all of its corporate history, only had three major hardware classes (plus their accessories, such as printers, AppleTV, etc.). The rest is software. And all the pundits who scream how Apple stopped innovating are the ones who swallowed Apple's marketing lines hook-line-and-sinker, because these people actually believe that the iPod touch, the iPhone, and the iPad are different products, when in fact they are just different form factors of the same product.
Apple's genius is in marketing (e.g. disrupting the stranglehold carriers had on handset manufacturers), and in software innovation.
And of course, there are diminishing returns: the innovation from CLI computing to GUI computing was huge, but ever since, it has been refining that concept; still, the difference between the original Mac and e.g. OS X 10.8 is big.
Same with touch screen devices and their OS. The big innovation was bringing them to market, now it's evolution.
To expect that Apple "revolutionizes" a new market every few years is bogus. Apple didn't do it in the past, and they won't do it in the future. They may well break open new markets once every decade or so, and that's still more than anyone else does. And in the mean time, they keep innovating in evolutionary steps, and just like evolution: mostly to the better, but sometimes to the worse.
I'm sure once the Ives' designed GUI shows up, as is rumored, it will get a lot of protesting and whining from the same people who now constantly clamor for novelty. I'll withhold judgement, because it could be better than Snow Leopard, or worse than Lion. Or it could be tolerable like Mountain Lion (which with a few third party additions like Total Spaces) is actually quite nice, even the Server version makes progress again in the right direction after the total Lion-Server disaster....
Edited by rcfa - 5/26/13 at 5:32pm