Re: These "new" iPhones
and it looks like Apple prices are *still* headed the wrong way
Certainly are. In strategic terms, Apple are treating their business as a cash cow - maximise profit by charging as much as they can, rather than offer real innovation because (in developed markets) they've accepted that they have reached near enough their maximum market share. For a cash cow business, growth can only be in dollars, not physical market share. Traditionally a cash cow faces a declining market, I suspect that with Apple, this cash cow will endure for a very long time.
Wall Street hoped that Apple would announce some fantastic "augmented reality" product to reignite growth, with Apple encouraging them that this is in the pipeline. I'm sure the iPhone X will fly off the shelves, but AR? Have these people no common sense? Google Glass was a form of AR, and that sank without much trace. Pokemon Go was a form of AR, and that was nothing more than a childish fad. AR is a bit like VR, AI and all the rest - hypeware that is being pushed because the makers hope they can sell it, in the face of a market that really isn't asking for it.
IMHO, the only medium term growth possibility for Apple is China, but it is not clear whether China will ever really embrace Apple in the same highly profitable way that the UK and US have. The Chinese domestic market is very different, and they've got some excellent handset manufacturers, producing beautiful, well made devices at a fraction of the cost of Apple's product. Even if China does start buying more iPhones, expect very different pricing and much lower pricing, accompanied by unbelievably rigorous region controls to stop a grey market in cheaper Apple devices cannibalising the Western markets willing to pay £1,000 a phone.
If people buy the X for £1,000 to £1,100, then you can be sure that Apple will be thinking that in a year to eighteen months they can announce an iPhone X-and-a-bit costing £1,400. Apple's innovation is now solely in demanding outlandish prices, and getting the iPhone addicts to pay for them.