Well, Canon sure didn't heed that advice with the 60D...they churned out a package worse than the old one (but with 3 more megapixels - woot!).
So what's worse about it?
It's missing microadjustment and it's missing a magnesium alloy frame. It still has a pentaprism, has a top LCD, has a new sensor that adds more than just 3MP resolution, and they added a swivel screen. All this in a package that's $200 less
than the 50D launched for in 2008. Yes, you lose Compact Flash - I've not heard that the 60 MB/s transfer
makes much difference for heat (like in video, which it doesn't have anyway), and CF is much more expensive for the capacity than the same size of SDHC cards
anyway. The ergonomics of locking the mode dial and the wheel are controversial, but that's a design decision I think is separate from pricing.
I wrote the other day about people wanting not to pay less and get less than they want, but Canon has to set differences between models, else they would either have one camera too expensive for most to buy, or they would have a nearly infinite range of models with no differentiation. (Would make for some confusing logistics at the factory.)
Nikon only builds consumer cameras and pro cameras. There isn't much difference between their pro models for things like weather sealing, metering and auto focus. The top of line D3x - 51 focus points (including 15 cross-type sensors); AF fine tuning possible and the bottom of the pro line D300s - 51 focus points (including 15 cross-type sensors); AF fine tuning possible. Canon would never do this, they worry about cannibalizing sales. And this is why a 7D will never be as good as a D400.
I think the reality is more nuanced than you admit. I don't see Canon ever having the rather x0D-ish "prosumer" tag to the 7D. The USA website's page for the 7D marks it for "serious photographers and semi-professionals." They want to have an APS-C camera for professionals, not just because APS-C chips are cheaper, but because the format offers extra reach with lenses. Somebody with a 5D or 1D series body may carry a 7D around as a second body, and Canon doesn't want to punish them for their purchase. The x0D line has been repositioned from semiprofessional or "prosumer" to "advanced amateur," though I don't see tons of changes myself, aside from the addition of a lot of new features and less emphasis on the old points that were thought to constitute a "pro" camera but which weren't adding new functionality (i.e. the magnesium alloy body) or advertising bullet points.
Other than that, I don't see your autofocus comparison providing your argument much support. Number of AF points has seemed to be going in Nikon's direction for a while - compare the D7000 and the Canon 60D, for example; the number and types of AF points was seen as a point in the D7000's favor there.
For Nikon's part, their USA website shows five tiers of cameras, with the D3x00 couple at the bottom. Perhaps they do fit cameras with just two levels of finish, but they sure don't spec and price them in just two tiers. The differences between the lower-end models in particular are quite varied.
The camera that follows in the 1 series will be a game changer and will not compare to the 5D3 so differentiation between the segments won't be an issue anymore. The 5D3 will be everything that we wanted the 5D2 to be and a little more. The 1Ds4 or probably new name will be a beast.
I wouldn't be surprised if these new cameras you speak of just add some new features from the recent consumer releases, like the swivel screen from the 60D, in a body that otherwise has modernized specifications over their predecessors. The one obvious wild card is the idea of a 3D camera, which would be an obvious choice for a "3D" moniker, but I don't care about that and a lot of other folks don't, either. There's also the possibility of a mirrorless or semi-transparent (like the Sony Alpha A-55) camera but those strike me as again consumer-oriented cameras (at least at the beginning), even if they are EF compatible.