Good point there...
Yeah, I was wondering about that backwards compatibility. Also, remember that LTE, 4G (these two are not synonymous), and 3G are primarily data technologies, and not voice. Voice should work even outside of LTE range without problems.
As for the Apple haters, just buy your phones as you like, and let people buy iPhones if they like. "Looking dated" is a subjective evaluation, as is "cheap little screen". Just because you don't agree with another's opinion doesn't mean they're wrong, or that it has merits you don't appreciate.
And yes, iPhones are price-comparable to similarly specced Android phones (or as close as you can get). Your diamond ring analogy is clever, if inapt. You can get a free iPhone (with contract), a US$99 iPhone (with contract), or a US$199 iPhone (with contract), which pretty much means it matches any price point. I don't know what the price structure is like outside the US, of course.
That being said, I WOULD like to see Apple step up the pace of development, and allow a couple release cycles per year.