But the design DOES lend itself to later models. Compare the similarities between NX-01 and NCC-1701. Long, narrow prominent struts that rise high over the saucer. Simple cylindrical nacelles. A rough hull, more lending itself to present technology than the sleek designs of the 24th century. The only thing that looks more "futuristic" than the Constitution class is the way the top decks of the saucer round off, much like the Galaxy class, but we can chalk that up to better CGI effects.
I think the designers did a spectacular job with NX-01, but it may seem out of place simply because the CGI effects are decades ahead of those in TOS (that is to say, nonexistant in TOS). But what were they going to do, use a crappy model and virtually no CGI just to make it seem "more primitive than TOS?" That'd be stupid.
Not really. NX-01 looks very much like like a TNG+ design that's been down rated to TOS styling. The issue to me, it that she looks MORE modern than NCC-1701. It's an issue I can forgive, because if they'd made something that look truly pre-TOS, it would have just looked stupid.
That said, I was never happy with the Akira Class "throw forward." The Akira is an awesome ship design. With a little stylistic updating, she could easily be the star of a post TNG series. I wouldn't mind seeing an updated concept in the reboot style. But Enterprise should have new. something we hadn't seen before. The producers tried to conjure off of the popularity of the Akira, and that was mistake.
I remember reading TV guide, when they discussed the mild weakness in DS9's ratings and the decision to give the show a starship to punch things up a bit. Then a month or two later, there was an article on that starship. I remember thinking, "this is too different, it's not very Trek." The Defiant turned out to be liquid awesome.
Enterprise's producers were not limited to fan expectations, even those of us who were hoping for some miracle where they made a throw back that didn't actually look so dated as to ruin the suspension of disbelief. And if NX-01 had been the kind of awesome that Defiant was, I suspect we could have forgiven her for looking as she did. (Note, I don't mean as powerful as Defiant. With NX-01 they should have gone, IMO, with a nod to the Millennium Falcon. Rather than making her weak compared to everything else in space they should have made her slightly more powerful, in many respects. And she should have had interesting, and drama raising break downs from being a bit too advanced.)
Don't get me wrong. I don't hate Enterprise. She's not a bad looking ship. But like Defiant, she has issues, and the production team didn't giver her enough awesome or personality to overcome those issues.
Some like it and some don't.
Thank hell that people have different opinion or we would all be wearing the same clothes, watch the same shows, buy the same things... Kinda like *insert something about Apple here*. :p