Point is, they aren't really trying to entice current generation or 1-2 gens back in the Rebel line to upgrade, they're trying to capture first-time dSLR buyers but keep the line 'fresh'.
I wouldn't be so confident about "knowing" what Canon is doing. I just watched a great presentation about Kodak (link can be found on another "rumors" site) and disruptive technology. I was struck by the parallels between what happened to film over the past 10-15 years and what is now happening to the camera market with cell phones.
That could be a complete discussion on its own, but for this discussion the point is simply this: the camera market is undergoing a major "disruptive" technological change with cell phone and tablet cameras. If Canon is smart (and I think they are) they are not unaware of the implications of these changes and are working to position themselves to survive this latest disruption.
What does that have to do with this discussion? Simply this: a customer in the hand is always worth two in the bush. The traditional upgrade path (basic point and shoot to sophisticated point and shoot to basic DSLR to sophisticated DSLR) may not survive the cell phone camera disruption.
be focused simply on attracting new DSLR customers. But I don't believe it's possible to say that with certainty. The DSLR market is mature. Growth is likely to be incremental in the future. Who really knows what the logical upgrade path from iPhone may be (if there even is
an upgrade path).
So, is Canon really focused solely on attracting new DSLR customers? I'm sure they would like to grow the DSLR base, but a cold, hard analysis of the marketplace may tell them otherwise.
What might a different path look like? Well, we know from their production numbers that they have one heck of a lot of DSLRs out there with only one lens. Over the past few years, Canon has been aggressively marketing two-lens kits. Perhaps they know that once a customer owns two lenses, they are more likely to buy a third lens, upgrade their existing lenses, upgrade to a different body or perhaps all three.
I'm guessing that they've done the math and determined the relative cost of converting a Rebel owner into a more lucrative enthusiast versus attracting a new DSLR owner. I'm not suggesting that Canon doesn't want new DSLR owners, I'm just saying we shouldn't make such assertions as though they are fact.
So, rather than "knowing" that Canon just wants to attract new customers, we really have an "unknown" â€“ the path to profitability and sustainability in the DSLR market may come not from an expanded base but from monetizing the existing base through enticing upgrades in camera bodies and lenses.