if you have web hosting for the domain you usually get email through that and you can hook that up to gmail for free
Yes yes, if
you have hosting. I and many others don't. We just have a $10/yr personal domain that's linked to the gmail servers.
You need Google Apps for that. GMail is already free, so obviously maintaining my emails would not exactly be a burden for them. As mentioned by someone else, would be happy to pay a reasonable fee for a personal Apps account rather than the crazy $60 per user/year they now want for new users (I have a main user address and a catch-all/spam address on the same domain, so that'd be $120/yr).
But yes, this remains free for existing users ... for now.