@AC 15/10/13 20:55
"In the US, iPhones are effectively almost free because phone prices are obscured by the carriers. It's only in the rest of the world that iPhones could be considered expensive status symbols."
Nope:- Here in the UK, phone prices are (and have always been) very obscured by the carriers - I got an iPhone 5 64GB from my carrier with unlimited calls (landlines & mobiles, any network), unlimited texts, and a 2GB monthly data limit for £40/mo on a 2year contract.
How much did I pay upfront for my £700 phone? Nothing, Nichts, Zilch, Nada, Rien.
I use calls & texts heavily - data at 2GB seems so far more than adequate.
Over 2 years, I'll pay £960, so over and above the £700 cost of the phone, for £130/year - £2.50 per week, I get the aforementioned usage and effectively an interest-free loan to buy a phone which, at the end of my contract, will fetch a very good price if I sell it on & upgrade.
I don't think the deal's a bad one - but I'm sure there will be hordes of kiddies who will down vote me on the grounds they've a better seat for 4p/annum, and because I've had the temerity to be happy with my second iPhone. My 2yr old iPhone 4 (immaculate and perfect functionality) sold for £250 at the end of its contract...