True, cost is indeed a valid reason to keep memory to a reasonable amount and true, the A+ is perfect for embedded designs. The old A+ does well there, the new A+ adds more CPU power and less memory means less power usage also.
If you need a Pi desktop, 1 GB and USB ports and LAN, get a B+ (and even that will not replace my I7 Intel notebook!).
And 1 GB RAM that is a lot! You can do marvels with much less if you leave out the enormous Linux kernel and the rest of the bloated software!
See https://ultibo.org/ for examples!