Originally Posted by ZachPruckowski
only exacerbated by the 2006 switch to Intel.
You got that right. Before the switch, there wasn't much that Apple could do due to the limitations of the range of PPC processors and motherboard chipsets available to them.
In the PPC days, moving the Mac Mini to a minitower enclosure wouldn't have enabled the use of a more powerful, cheaper CPU or a cheaper motherboard chipset (the only other PPC chip to choose was the G5, and whilst more powerful than the G4, it cost more).
With the iMac, there also wasn't as much compromise going on as there is now. Again, Apple were already putting the most powerful CPU in it that they could.
Now the platform is on Intel, Apple have all these desktop Intel chips to choose from and uses none of them! (the Xeon is a workstation chip).