It doesn’t make sense to be afraid of turning it into a Swiss army knife. Yes, it needs to be more useful to get real work done. If they don’t at least get on a trajectory to go there pretty soon, we’ll just keep looking for alternatives.
The long shelf life is a good thing too: not for Apple sales, but for the sake of doing the right thing.
The price is high to maximize profit, not because the components cost that much, right? But if the functionality were to get better over time instead of more crippled over time (as has been the experience with the iPad 2 for example), then the high price would be worth it.