Two major things that consumers should care about the product they are buying are the user experience and the re-sale value. After all who doesn't want to keep updating their technology product as often as possible to get a new gizmo. From my experience Apple leads in both of these. I posted an article sometime back comparing the resale prices of top smartphones and here is another article on this and there is only one winner in getting the best value for the bucks, Apple!
This also emphasizes the importance of the long rumored lower cost iPhone for Apple to appeal to a larger audience in countries outside of US where the iPhone prices are horrendous (in local currencies). For example in India it is Rs. 42,000 or around $700 - $850 depending on how the global economy is doing (compared to $650 is the US). Either way this is much higher than in US. Of course the key for Apple is to get the non-contract price of the iPhone down without sacrificing the user experience with this 'cheaper' iPhone[C].