Thank you for a well thought out and well argued response. Have an upvote. My thoughts:
* True, but the question is, is this a broken paradigm, something that is done this way because that's how it's always been done?
Actually, it's only since the iPhone that it's been this way. All prior phones had replaceable batteries - and still no-one, outside a tiny minority, carried spares. I often thought about buying a spare - but I never did (even when I actually got a spare given to me, I always forgot to charge it / bring it with me).
* But whatever the storage capacity I actually DID need, I would rather not be totally ripped off for it, as per massive price difference between 16GB and 64GB iPhones.
No argument. What's really indefensible though is that the 16GB iPhone still exists - it should be 32GB as a base. Of course, by the time 32GB is the base the world will have moved on and 64GB should be base. I wouldn't be shocked if the 16GB phone didn't make substantial profit and only exists to make it look as if there's a (relatively) low cost device.
* I prefer a model where there are multiple App stores that compete with each other on security, price and availability of apps rather than have a take-it-or-leave-it monopolist who charges monopolistic prices.
How gloriously utopian. The problem is that every utopia is flawed and ends up as dystopia. By dystopia, in this case, I mean toxic hell stew of malware. Don't get me wrong - I love the idea, but I don't see how it can work. Other dreams (my own) are that no one would write malware, advertising would be unobtrusive and Ops would know their damn place in the priesthood - which is underneath the Programmers and Sandbenders ;-)
* stop pretending that Apple aren't gouging their customers (and the iOS developers), or that their products are better in any way except style and branding.
I don't think that Apple are gouging their customers - but I'm quite content for others to think otherwise. It seems to me that it's a matter of where the profit comes from. Apple explicitly makes its money from hardware, and hides the cost of software development and (some of the cost of) running cloud services. Google makes its money from advertising - which most users are fine with. I'm not. But isn't it wonderful that we have the choice? I can choose to pay a little more, because (maybe) I wear a tin foil hat. You can choose to pay a little less because you don't consider that the privacy issues are anything more than paranoia.
As for better quality, I can't really speak in terms of phones. HTC seem to be as good. Samsung seem a little worse. Vertu seem a lot ridiculous (in terms of 'style' too). In terms of computers (I have a Dell laptop, a Lenovo and an Apple) I can say unequivocally that Apple hardware is better in my experience - and not just in terms of styling. I haven't seen a desktop computer as good as my old Mac Pro tower either. Of course, that's for my use case.
I have to say that I object to the whole style thing though - Apple has been very fashionable since the iPod came out. Popular with sheeple (wankers) who buy a device because everyone else is rather than that it's best for their use-case. It really gets my goat when people buy something for reasons of fashion (or, for that matter, when people object to a device on the same grounds) grumble grumble grumble.