What price point do you think Sony is going to end up releasing the PS4 at? MAYBE they go $400 if pressured by Microsoft. You think $400? Even the Wii U is selling at a loss and the higher end system, with like 4x less the Ram, is $350. The going to 8 GB of memory, and what they are picking for it, makes it more expensive.
The design approach is very much like a PC, and following the trends laid down, and is what you saw with the XBox with integrated memory.
As for the charging for online, you see Sony is now doing Playstation Plus, and they do want to charge for it. There has been buzz about Sony wanting to charge and planning to charge for its online service. What I saw today does look like something they would charge for. They probably throw in Playstation Plus for free, if that would make you happy.
What I write is not my wishing, but what I see in front of me and what has been discussed. Will see in the coming months what they do. They didn't mention that the online feature would be free to use either. They discussed investing in it. They are discussing value proposition here, not cheap.
Here is one article that talks about Playstation World:
Maybe they do keep online play separate, but I see that hard pressed to do so, if they are integrating what they plan, into the experience, which is like you see with the likes of OnLive, watching people play and so on.
I disagree with most of what you said. I think they will be very carefull not to overprice their console especially as MS Im sure will try to underprice. I dont see them going above $400 regardless of the cost of the console similarly to how they willingly took a hit with the Vita in order to make it more competitive. I also dont see them charging for online play - they have made a name for themselves in offering free MP compared with the Xbox. I dont see them doing away with it especially as it could give them an advantage with this next gen (assuming there are no differences between the ps4 and xbox720).