"Are Apple the new Nokia?"
Maybe, but Nokia certainly look a lot like the old Apple.
1. A dated OS, overtaken by what you could get from commodity hardware suppliers.
2. A vast product range, with the winning features thinly spread across it, and no definable "best model" as the company tries to chase every niche
3. A vague advertising strategy, with lots of political correctness and feel-good, and little about why you'd want to buy.
4. A persistent hammering by the tech press, mostly justified, but with some outright hostility.
6. Millions of R&D months, and nothing much to show for it, as nothing good gets a green-light from the beancounters, for fear of "cannibalising" the core market.
7. Acting like they still own the market, and are entitled to an share.
The major difference I can see is that Apple was riddled with "Not Invented Here" disease (and it's gaining hold again), where Nokia have historically worked on, then adopted open standards. I think you're right about being locked in, but in Apple's case their huge margins mean they can afford the development costs... for now.
Your point about being ready for the "next hot OS" is a good one, and there's evidence to suggest that this "hot OS" for Nokia may actually be one they're already using... Series 40.
Qt is the key. It's not MeeGo that impresses about the N9 - not one of the videos, reviews and demos shows one single feature that is only possible because the underlying OS is MeeGo. Everything you see is Qt and Qt Quick used to implement a clean, consistent UI. Get that level of fluidity, and people won't care if it's running on Series40's "domestic" OS, Symbian or some generic embedded Linux. Qt is already on Symbian; much of the N9's UI is coming to Symbian "Belle" (and is available now to app developers); and Qt is moving down to Series 40 too. Nokia are consolidating their non-Windows phones into a single user experience, and a single API framework too.
App developers won't write directly against kernel or OS APIs very often, because Qt itself provides just about everything you need already for 99% of apps. The only major failing of Nokia's OS strategy now is that WP7 cannot be supported by Qt (WP7 doesn't allow "unmanaged" code libraries, and under the fancy syntax, Qt is plain C++).
Right now, though, Nokia can play the same game you've described above, and maybe N9 is part of that game. Elop keeps saying "plan B is making Plan A work", but there's always a Plan B. This Winter, they will offer what is effectively the same phone, with two different OS platforms, and let the market decide. Nokia's customers, the mobile networks, will ultimately decide which they want.
Remembering who Nokia's customers really are is important: if a particular country isn't getting the N9, that's because the network operators don't want to carry it, not because of some conspiracy by Nokia or Stephen Elop.