No form factor will ever be truly extinct. Consumers have been moving to laptops because the mobility and convenience has outweighed better price/performance ratio of desktops. But their is still plenty of market for desktops. I do agree that at the budget end price and specs have become similar. ~$200 for a crappy CPU and 2GB ram 4 if you are really lucky. But for anything but the most budget models desktop specs will start to edge out laptops at higher price points.
I completely agree that at the top end a desktop is going to be better and cheaper, but entry and mid range (basically anything without a high end graphics card) are equal once you add in a monitor, and at mid range the laptops have the price edge right now.
Businesses Still prefer desktops for the majority of their users. (Unless they Need Mobility)Thin clients and ultra small form factor desktops are a threat to them but pricing for the enterprise level of virtualization software is not at a point where it makes it cost effective unless the shop has special needs. And then they can use cheaper one-of solutions. I'd say offices who do not need mobility can find a better desktop solution.
Sure, any employee tied to a desk doesn't need a laptop, and since bigger screens work better for most people, a desktop makes more sense. Right now a mid level business computer will cost you about $1000 for a core i5, ssd drive, and 1080 screen. In a desktop that screen will be a 24" and in a laptop a 15", but all other specs are equal. Niche stuff is going to cost you more, and while you can go cheaper, over time that can cost you more too.
You might be surprised how few computers you need for thin clients and Citrix servers to be cost effective though... particularly now that a desktop will cost you around $500 more than the thin client. 2-3 years ago it was closer to a $200 difference.. And with cloud computing coming on strong, don't be surprised if the OS generation after the next is fully subscription based SaaS...
At $150 it is totally worth it but at $800 I will pass and just use a Laptop. I still love the $200 old school Latitude I picked up off-lease.
For a consumer looking for second hand tech, it can make sense because of the price. For a business, you don't buy second hand because you need it to perform for several years without issues. It's unfortunate though because I do see a place for it in the business world, but like you said, not at that price point.
I'm an anomaly ...
I don't think so at all.. With a ton of cheap tech available, combined with a desire to spend money, I don't think it is unusual for consumers today to have a device for everything. Last year there was a commercial for the Amazon Fire where they had one for each room in the house because it was like $35 for the smaller one (with ads)... I was tempted to buy a few to have lying around the house, but then I came to my senses. Cheap tech is like a siren call to those of us who grew up in the 70's and 80's (and even some from the 90's). It doesn't even matter if it is practical or not, we see things we wanted when we were younger (whether they had been invented yet or not) and when they are within easy grasp we snatch it up. I'm sure I am not the only one here who has had the first world problem of what to do with that perfectly functioning 32" LCD TV that got replaced by the much thinner, lighter, and better looking 40" LCD (that cost less than the 32" TV it replaced) that sits in a room that almost nobody uses.
I travel with my kindle paperwhite for reading, my 10" Fire HD for watching movies, and my laptop for business use, and of course I always have my smartphone on me. Do I really need a 5.5" screen in my pocket, a 6.5" screen in my back pocket, a 10" screen and a 15" screen in my backpack? Hell yes I do, each has it's own use and can do that better than the other..