Definitely - the saying "specs don't matter" would be in my opinion a shortening of "specs don't matter with hardware from the same generation".
An iPhone 5S vs. a Galaxy S4 vs. a Moto X and so on will be "roughly equivalent" in normal use - only the "spec freaks" really care, in other words, not John Q. Public.
I am with you on the iPhone 5S / small smartphone thing here.
I'll admit that looking at a Moto X, I can see the appeal (very nice phone) and the "specs" (evil word!) of the Nexus 5 combined with the fact that it is slightly smaller than the Nexus 4 (if you believe that leaked manual) make it look interesting - but, I will stand my ground here.
I'd rather have an iOS device and an Android device in my daily carry bag, so for me at present that is going to be (once I save my nickels) an iPhone 5S and my Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 may end up being replaced at some point, we will see, not sure with what as of yet, but the 8-inch form seems a better fit in my hands for a small tablet.
Who knows! Hopelessly addicted to tech...
BlackBerry definitely has some good ideas for UI and for hardware, so I hope they stick around.
Really, I think we need or should have all of the players. A Lumia 1020 is a great phone, for instance, in spite of the Windows hatred - spend some time with the UI and the brilliance just grabs you. Similarly, iOS 7 has some great ideas when we forget about the "noise" concerning motion sickness etc., Android has lots of high points and so on.
Finally - yes, defaults matter, that's what most people use.
Rooting and flashing, installing third-party keyboards or launchers, all the stuff that people on Google+ do - well, John Q. Public doesn't do that.
He has to take John Jr. and Jane to soccer, and pick up dinner on the way, so he just wants his phone to work so he can get on with is life.