First I need to state that I use an E72 with the iPod touch. So from a-not-so-novice-user point of view, this is about the best combination out there.
Symbian is about techie and people who likes to make their phone work for them. Trace this all the way back to its very roots of EPOC and Psion (huge touch screen, albeit B&W, battery life to die for and what a keyboard!). It's rock-steady and is very good with what it does. Check out the file manager - where's one for Apple? What it doesn't do too well are the eye-candies stuff and the novice-user experiece. Ovi Store is really bad and too fragmented - hunt for upgrades, download and install. No prob for experience users. But for the masses, the App Store is a gem - one click and all done.
Most users (Apple fans or not) agree that iPhone is easy to use. Lots of eye-candy and legendary ease-of-use. No one argues with that. But it irks people that Apple and its zealots sometimes glossed over the flaws and refuse to accept the flaws. Is there a TV manufacturer that tells its buyers that he has to place the TV in a certain manner, else he cannot get a good reception or picture? Do the apps crash? Yes it does and quite a few times. By the way, do I need to upload the same file twice so that I can open it in different Office apps? Try to put something into iPhone and iTunes becomes a pain.
All the major OS are not perfect. The ideal combo would be Symbian's multi-task and rock-solid base. Add on the slick UI of Apple and App Store (maybe HTC sense). Tag on Android's connectivity to Google.
It seems fashionable to have a negative view of Nokia and Symbian. When I check my Google News feed, it appears that most items are expected at the end of Symbian, Nokia and suggests switching to another platform.