Reading this piece on Anandtech.com today was a pretty grim reminder not so much of what Apple does right (in this case, they do quite a bit) as much of what the race-to-the-bottom commodity networking hardware market has become. We're on the cusp of wide availability of a new networking standard (802.11ac WiFi) that has all sorts of great potential but that is basically a terrible mess because nobody has any incentive to actually do a good job implementing it. Everybody slaps out some variant of the chipset manufacturer's reference design, does a quick "branding" job on the associated firmware and out it goes! Six months from now, there won't be any bug fixes or updates to the firmware -- it's all abandoned for the next model.
This is incredibly frustrating as a consumer and, basically, the choices for anybody that doesn't want this kind of junk are either "Enterprise" vendors (which isn't terribly practical for all but the most technically adept) or Apple. Neither guarantees that they are bug free or terribly featureful in ways we care about, but they aren't soon-to-be-forgotten junk. I love when enthusiast sites declare things like "Apple's New Airport Extreme Offers No Innovation" -- it's so true... Because having useful bugfixes and updates for the next couple of years is not "innovative".
There is no doubt that the purchase price of (real) Cisco or Apple networking hardware seems out of line with the commodity choices, but at some point you do realize that this means something approaching a sane business model.