Since guitar making grew out of violin making there are centuries of tradition to buck. As the high end makers all used RW n ebony in the 40's fender's concept was about value and functionality not luxuary
Because maple isn't really hard enough to make a long wearing fret board. Same reason why Leo switched to rosewood in the 60s...the maple looks awful after a few years. Electric guitar players are about the only people who seem to like their instruments to look beat up.
I notice that too. not with Fender, but most other brands. Almost always dark, dyed boards. Maybe it's because, at least on the imports, they can use cheaper wood and dye it dark like rosewood. Most imports have jet black boards. I don't know about higher end stuff. But maple usually looks great on a guitar.
I love the look, tone and feel of maple. Just not super thick glossy. Especially cool when worn and played in. Love the tighter tone, and focus especially under higher gain. it rocks.
I like maple neck Strats .I even like the way they look when they are worn. makes me think of Claptons Blackie and all the strats my 70's guitar heros played and they have a brighter tone than rosewood board strats.