The spec requirements are not as bad as everyone thinks. It truly depends on why you play this type of game. If your looking for the eye candy only, then yes, you need to have a monster machine with all the latest gadgets. If you want a good game experience, with excellent PvP and such, with good to great graphics, you do not need the monster machine.
On the leveling note, I think they are working it to some extent, but whats the rush? At level 50 you will then either be bored or at best, have to wait for others to catch up to have a sizable force to do something.
So far, as is my usualy pattern, I have changed characters about every 3 days, trying to decide what best to play. I can get to level 10 in a few short hours, and level 12 in about 8..after that, things tend to slow down on solo, but if you have some group action, you can keep it steady. On my highest character, with the recent changes, I noticed a major increase in leveling experience coming in solo, actually faster than group, after level 16.