Although I understand the need to understand/justify the pricing for this new object of desire, this is a most difficult exercise.
We have no idea about the assumptions that are being made by Canon for the price point they are setting relative to the profit they feel is appropriate over the life of the product given the sunk development and marketing costs. Without knowing these assumptions we are left with an impenetrable veil to guess through.
Basing a current pricing analysis on past history does have its problems. First, it assumes a fixed pricing strategy by Canon and perhaps Nikon as the leaders... and a willingness by both to maintain stasis or relative position. Two, the comparison with past models assumes that past pricing extrapolated to the present will, despite changes in input costs and technological change, produce a margin that will be acceptable. Three, pricing is not only connected to currency changes but also to local markets. The world wide local pricing for this camera varies beyond currency explanations (we have heard the squeals of real pain from our fellow international Canon lovers) . Four, inflation is only one factor in this drama.
My take on Canon is that they have a battle on many fronts in imaging and the competitors are now more diverse and quicker than ever. The DSLRs are still the flagships but this market is relatively limited when all of photography is fully considered. Many people are satisfied with just taking snapshots of limited quality and then putting them quickly on social network sites (requiring limited IQ....). I think we have all seen people with digital cameras and phones hardly taking the time to stop as they tourist around taking tons of pictures. A few of these folks will migrate to a DLSR or even a 5D Mk III but not that many. Many people have found a love for photography and are posting on flickr and other sites but many are happy with the results they get from point and shoots and iPhones for recording their lives and the things they enjoy sharing. It is a complex equation.
The greatest garlands for excellence in all the areas of fine art, commercial, wildlife, sport and reporting photography will, for the foreseeable future, go to a handful of camera manufactures and a very limited number of products. Like what happened with the film SLR market, we may be seeing an inflection point as new technologies will begin to attract the cool peeps from the DSLR to new lighter cameras (hello mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras - MILCs). We might be seeing the last of a great dinosaur line. It has been a great ride that will continue for the foreseeable future but maybe there will better ways to do what we love.
My feeling is that the 5d Mk III is a wonderful and appropriately expensive piece of equipment. A few hundred dollars (which is what many are quibbling over) will not stop a real professional with a thriving business - especially if he/she feels the IQ difference will secure or maintain a competitive advantage. The real problem with this pricing comes for the advanced or advancing enthusiasts of limited means. They may be having a tough time justifying the added expense with no attendant revenue - but the human mind is a very creative organ. Buying this body will certainly crimp other purchases in their lives not only in their hobby. It wouldn't be so hard if the camera was not so great!
I want one but I just can't justify it given I haven't peaked yet with the equipment I own and the time I have to dedicate to this adventure. I might spring for the replacement 7D should that ever come our way. See, we can justify anything even in one paragraph.
In the end we can only decide if this product is, at this time, worth the cost to us for what we are receiving. Canon has put in a marker and depending on how it goes will maintain, lower or raise the price. Nikon has made their play and we are all potential actors in this drama.