Number crunching with MATLAB on big datasets can eat a lot of CPU time - it's better not to wait longer than you have to, and throttling will hold you back. Ditto video transcoding and other kinds of scientific computing (like oil reservoir simulation...), or distributed computing projects like BOINC. But for most use cases you're right: there's just not that much stuff typical users do that needs to grind on a CPU for even minutes at a time, let alone hours or days.
My sympathies on the RAM. That's the most evil kind of corner-cutting to save a couple of bucks.
Technology and economies of scale have come a very, very long way from the 3DO. From what I've seen and heard I wouldn't bet against it, and I'd certainly place better odds on it than the 3DO.
Man, that Doom port sucked.
First: yes, it's clearly a joke. How can you copy something done ten years earlier?
Second, Apple does make their own ARM CPUs these days. They build and design licensed ARM CPUs for their iOS devices these days, which includes AppleTV, iPhones, iPads, and iPods, but for their Mac / OS X business they are still 100% Intel. Their latest design is starting to turn some heads.