RichyS, I worked at Apple from just before the NeXT reverse-takeover, to just after the iPod came out, and your recollection doesn't match mine at all. The Pre-97 Apple was sprawling, un-focussed, had a major R&D effort that was going to go nowhere, and couldn't market its products.
I will give you point 1. And point 2 is famously true (in my time there, there was an celebrated market-research report that suggested there was a 5% core of the Apple customer base that would buy ANYTHING the company produced, regardless of what it was).
On the other hand, you can't discount Nokia's brand image either. There are parts of the world where Nokia are still undisputed brand leaders including markets like India and China which dwarf EU and US. Visit some mobile-phone websites, and there will be many Nokia fans, just as irrational and deluded as Apple fanbois.
On "pretty lean still from an organisation perspective", I can't agree. Apple was grossly inefficient and overstaffed in the mid 1990s, and in terms of revenues it was doing far worse than Nokia. The losses in 1996 alone were colossal, and nearly closed the company.
I can only really speak about software, because that's what I was in, but while there was some good R&D work done at this time, the majority was wasted dead-end projects like AppleLink, PowerTalk, QuickDraw GX, the entire Newton product line, Pippin, the first Apple TV Set-Top Box (brought to production casing, then canned)... and let's not dwell on OS8/Copland, the most costly software project in the industry at the time. The big staff reductions happened in 1999-2000, after Apple's recovery had begun. While they may be lean now, they weren't then.
In hardware and manufacturing, Nokia are still more efficient - Jobs himself has stated that Nokia are matchless in their supply-chain, logistics and manufacturing. They may suck at software, but they excel in making phones.
And Apple's competition was good, very good. Dell were able to push out PCs at a fraction of the cost that Apple could, and they made mincemeat of Apple's traditional strongholds in Education and Science - sure, the quality wasn't as good, but with a free replacement unit delivered in 24 hours, who cared? In software, Microsoft had a scalable, robust OS with preemptive multi-tasking and protected memory in the form of Windows NT at a time when Apple's System 7.5 could seize up completely if just one app got too busy to call WaitNextEvent() The hot new things at the time were Java and the Web, and Macs had poor support for either: You might think IE is a lousy browser, but it wasn't in 1997/1998. Plus, Microsoft had a monopoly in productivity software, and by refusing to confirm ongoing support for Office on Macs, they were dragging the last of Apple's corporate customers away.
Add to this a bewildering range of products, where people didn't know which were the "good" models, and which were the "economy" ones, marketing campaigns based on feelgood rather than telling people why they might want the product, and an inability to get any significant R&D work out the door, and there's a lot in common. The one big difference is that Nokia is still turning profits, whereas Apple were running on red ink for a long time.
I don't know what's happening within Nokia, but I can tell you that nobody working in Apple in the mid/late 1990s knew where they'd be working 12 months ahead - the company was on a death watch, constantly referred to as "beleaguered computer maker Apple", and nobody gave it a chance until the iMac started to make serious inroads into the home market in 1999/2000.