Customers are obviously willing to pay for premium devices, allowing for actual profit to be made.

From Apple.  There's no indication they're willing to that the Windows notebooks, for various reasons.  Certainly not in this economy, along with their disposable income being pulled in many directions from tech with smartphones and tablets.

I too am wondering what problem the Surface Pro is trying to solve.  Again, albeit obviously less since it can run x86 apps, like the Surface RT it's the inherent problem with trying to make a device to showcase an OS with dual personalities.  It's a slew of compromises.

As a tablet?  Yes - one of the heaviest and thickest out there with half the battery life of the competition.  Still very poor selection of apps.  Priced extremely high.  No 3G.  Better resolution than Surface, still less than the latest Android/Apple tablets.

As a laptop?  Fixed hinge and keyboard make it poorly suited to be used on anything other than a flat surface when working.  Even the "best" Type Keyboard option still has a ridiculous small trackpad relative to most laptops, and increases the thickness/weight so that we're close to Ultrabook territory in those two aspects as well.  Integrated graphics only.  Small storage. Small screen.  Priced high.

Does it have a niche?  Yes, probably.  Just a very, very small one.