The just announced Nkon D40 ships in December and is priced at $599 US with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. This is the most affordable top-brand DSLR kit on the market, and it's well within the reach of most enthusiasts.
The 6-megapixel sensor coupled with the same processing engine as the Nikon D200 has a 2.5" LCD monitor and can shoot in burst mode at 2.5 frames per second. In a hands on preview at DP Review, Phil Askey said this comparing it to the more expensive D50:
"On the plus side you get ISO 3200 equiv. (HI 1), the ever useful customizable Auto ISO, a larger viewfinder view, shorter shutter lag and viewfinder blackout, a larger LCD monitor, a considerably nicer user interface, SDHC support, a new image processing engine, unlimited JPEG continuous shooting, in-camera retouching (including D-Lighting) and of course a smaller and lighter body."
Could this be the DSLR that every serious amateur owns? We'll find out in December.