BlackBerry used to be things of prestige. I remember having the 8800 and 8820, RIM's first devices with full keyboards and the chrome-looking bezel..people with the Curves really liked the way it looked, but wanted the camera, which the 88xx phones didn't have. I don't think anything of Apple's are things of prestige, to be honest. I have a MacBook of the aluminum design, and an iPod touch. They're great devices. I love my MacBook, but I use it way less now that PlayBook has been updated with OS 2. I use my ipod touch for the apps BlackBerry doesn't have, but I rarely bring it out of my house, which just reaffirms how little I feel the need or desire to have all those iOS apps.
But in terms of BlackBerry prestige, I think some of the low end devices have hurt that. The OS 7 devices are the first generation of BlackBerrys that ALL look "prestigious." the 8520, and more of those plastic feeling devices really go again the prestige thing, but then again, that's not what they're meant for.
People have commented on my 9900, especially BlackBerry users that have left for Android or iphone, and have said stuff along the lines like, "I didn't know BlackBerry made phones that nice," etc. I really hope RIM doesn't exit the hardware business, as people have been loving to speculate lately. The worst part of their hardware for me has been, at most, a squeaky battery door. To me, Androids are all black rectangles of plastic, there's nothing special about the way any of them look. IPhones feel like quality, but prestige gets diluted when everyone you see has one.
I'd love for RIM to come out with more limited edition phones. A long time ago, I paid like $500 for the Limited Edition Mr. Cartoon Sidekick 2 (Google it, it's still cool looking), and would probably have no problem dropping $1000 on some limited edition BlackBerry. I think a Puma edition one would be cool, as Nike has some app or step counter thing on iPods. I mean.. Imagine the carbon woven back of the 9900 with a grey Puma woven in?! People with money to burn would buy it just to go with an outfit...