Seriously, nobody needs that many low quality PS cameras that make no changes to image quality at all. Their pro cameras get 2 body releases per year, and their amateur DSLR gets a yearly refresh.
We tend to get lost in our own little worlds where our interests seem to be the only ones that count.
Canon sells boatloads of cameras to millions of people who could not care less about what a photo enthusiast feels is important.
The most important thing to us about those sales is that it helps create a company with enough size to actually fund an R&D program that can give us products like a 1DX that can actually be purchased at a believable price due to the economies of scale.
I am sure Phase One would love to have the volumes and cash flow that Canon has to fund R&D that is not dependent on companies that may or may not be in business in the near future.
This is very true. I think we are very fortunate that Canon has something for everyone in its lineup. Not everyone is a professional (me) and a 1DX or even a 5D3 would be completely overkill for a great many people.
There is an entire generation getting hooked on smartphone cameras (not me) that probably thinks the exact opposite of the original poster. Why spend thousands on pro equipment when I get decent pictures from my iPhone for what I need?
Go into the iPhone forums and read about it. There are people writing this stuff
The low end P&S market is actually shrinking, but its going to sell the most. Whats the most popular Canon DSLR? The Rebel series right? A camera and lense system worth thousands will probably be bought by the minority that make a living off of it or know how to use it properly.
I think you both make a fair and important point!
My professional background is marketing, and my thoughts here may be tainted by that fact.
Compactcameras is a product category that is in decline and have been so for several years. They face immense competition by alternatives like smartphones, ipads with photocapabilities and others. The powershot S 110 with their ability to post online directly is a small step in a direction of meeting the new digital social media needs. However, this poses an internal challenges to Canon, as one of their other big areas are print. (the three big business areas are Camera CIG, Print, and Medical imaging equipment and telescope imaging), as fewer people on, what we in here call, the lower end tend to print pictures anymore, and instead post them directly on the web.
As far as you question goes, I believe that the reasoning lies much more in internal logic than a logic geared towards consumers. I think that they produce so many lines, not as a evolutionary result based on the demand by their consumers, but more like an answer to different large outlet chains. There is an increasing demand (and this goes for print too) by the chains, like Best Buy, Staples, Mediamarkt and others for their exclusive versions of the different camerabrands. Thus, Best Buy can be the only one that offers a spesific Canon camera, while Mediamarkt runs another camera version from Canon that they sell exclusively. In my inept roundabout way, I am trying to say that I believe that this (to your question) has less to do about consumers, but more to do about making it attractive for the large and powerful chains to sell Canon gear.