it ain't a rip. it is apple. it is like comparing sansa to sony. both have good hardware but one is another 1/3 to 50% the price again. people who buy sansa buy sansa. people who buy sony buy sony.
apple products usually hit a price performance ratio that is good at a certain point, but you have to be prepared to compare the system, not the spec.
for the spec, you could go half the price or lower usually. but again, apple buy xeon class chips for the mac pro. the other thing to think is machined aluminium, a nice case that allows for pull outs and easy connectioin and cleaning.
apple don't put together a box, they design it.
it is expensive to those who don't care about a product but only about performance. for those who care about design and product, then apple's offerings are the only ones that will deliver and are worth the asking.
money is not the object, the object is the purchaser in this case. just like us: we buy headphones and amps that likely give the smallest of returns and we spend thousands on them. we are the apple to anyone not interested in headphones. but to us, it is worthwhile and necessary.
obviously, our similar goals don't apply to computers as if we are worried about price versus others or spec/spec comparison, we just want bottom line or in other words:
To relate headphones to computers, headfi is massively into the ibuds of computers.