It's specifically designed to immobilise, but not hurt. I have disdain for this because out of all the confrontations I have had, my opponents never went easy on me, and the idea that I should is something I disagree with.
That's actually a myth. Immobilisations are a relatively small part of the curriculum, and an even smaller part of the overall skills trained in aikido. Furthermore, the techniques themselves are not comparatively safer to an attacker. Actually, competitive arts (e.g. wrestling) are much better at neutralising an opponent without hurting him.
This is because it trains through repetition, and though I am a traditionalist, it's simply a method of training that won't allow you to use Aikido for self-defense until you have dedicated yourself to it for a long time.
I don't really understand what you mean by "repetition" but most aikido training is through solo training and kata. However, there are many approaches and emphases to kata training: Pattern Drills: A Requisite Training Methodology Towards Combative Effectiveness – 古現武道
In contrast, modern arts such as Boxing and Sambo, even though they're not necessarily made for self-defense, teach you things from your very first lesson that you can apply almost as soon you walk out of the lesson. Aikido has thousands of techniques - Boxing has 4 punches (with some slight variations) and 5 defenses at most. It also encourages sparring, and unless your school of aikido does too, you're already at a disadvantage compared to the average boxing gym.
Mostly agree with this. Just a note on the "thousands of techniques" bit as it is imprecise. Modern aikido has actually very few techniques (about a dozen) performed from about twenty positions. The curriculum is very limited. I guess that you are referring to "Takemusu Aiki" (birth of martial), the idea that application of aikido principles can be expressed through an infinite number of forms, which is quite different.