No fan of Apple's behaviour, but.....
Yes, it punishes the the consumer when products aren't available and yes, it even perhaps stifles innovation while everyone tries to ensure that todays R&D that they are carrying out for tomorrows products, doesn't infringe a patent somewhere.
There are two issues here. One of them is the granting of patents that cover vast traunches of similar technologies, such as how a capacitive touch screen will respond, and the second is the legitimate defence of patent rights.
In my opinion, it is the granting of patents that needs looking at, so that broad patent definitions do not cover a particular technology that is in wide use (such as how touchscreens are used) and are limited to something more specific and less generic.
I would condone anyones right to defend their patents, but when the patents are too generic and widespread and start to describe how a device could be used, so that other manufacturers cannot make devices that use certain touch gestures, then I would say that the patent reach is too wide and needs to be more focussed.
It is a sadly accepted fact that these days a patent portfolio is a huge and commercially recognised asset for a business and is high on the list of assets looked at by companies involved in takeover bids. Litigation and commercial profit are not in the interests of anyone but the device manufacturers however, there is certainly no benefit for you and I.
TL;DR - Ensure patents are more specific before they are granted rather than broad spread, blanket coverage of technologies.