All that was shattered with their new Macbook lineup (which are pretty much just beefier MB Airs). They flat out killed the 17" (which I still consider the perfect on-the-go workstation).
I considered Apple very relevant around the iPhone release. The current direction is not the iPhone direction. It is the iPad direction. That's when they started to go somewhat batshit on driving away professional users. They could have maintained both camps pretty handily in my opinion. Both camps were quite happy and got along great. Why they decided to kill off one is beyond me. Sure, there is more money in everyday clients, but I doubt they were actually hurting their business with power users.
Consider this: When I - a staunch defender of FOSS, user of Kubuntu, Free Software programmer, ardent antagonist of everything Microsoft - got my Macbook, I actually started recommending Macs as a choice to others. It actually did seem to me a better choice than going with Microsoft Windows. These days, I recommend Windows 7.
That's what they have accomplished.
I sprung into action and opened that machine up and started dousing all of the parts with distilled water then drying them. I didn't need any special tools or even a service manual.
That generation MBP had the most beautiful design inside and out that I have ever seen. It was the pinnacle of geekdom beauty and it only lasted a year or two.
While I don't relish the idea of a non-upgradable system, I do appreciate Apple trying to shave off every last possible gram from their laptops. My next laptop will probably be a 13" Air for that reason.
You're retconning. Apple hasn't been 'borderline irrelevant' since before they launched the iPod in 2001. There's a six year gap there in between the iPod and the iPhone, and imho they didn't really change their direction until 2010 or 2011, with the release of OSX Lion, neglect of the Mac Pro, and the killing off of the 17" MBP.
The TiBook was also quite nice, though I wouldn't call it as significant as the iMac in pushing Apple toward stylish and well designed consumer devices.
The iOS stuff certainly moved them to a whole new plane of success, but I don't have to like it.
The only bit I took issue with, is holding up Apple as having 'failed' simply because their focus is on other types of users. Particularly when they're serving those users at least as well as any alternative. And when those users are far, far more numerous than users like myself and their needs far, far easier to meet in an engineering and support sense.