I think Apple has a lot of responsibilities for other aspects of their iPhone business. I’m with Erik Loomis in supporting US laws and treaties to push fair wages and labor rights down their global supply chain. But, if anything, that would result in more expensive iPhones if Apple wanted to maintain its margins. But when there are decent and less expensive Android phones available and it’s possible to make an iPhone last 3 or 4 years (with care and perhaps not upgrading iOS past two versions), how much Apple charges for its top of the line phone feels like an economic decision for the company. What pricing structure makes the most sense for both their long term and short term profits. I can still use, enjoy, and afford an iPhone as long as I’m willing to delay upgrades.
What I’m likely to do is wait for another year with my 6: it’s a tiny bit better for the environment, spreads out the original cost of going with maxed storage more, and, after a battery replacement and remaining on iOS 10, is still pleasant to use. If I do that, then do the same again, my next phone would end up costing me about $300 a year, which doesn’t seem outrageous given how much I would use it. The 512 Max would be about $375 a year.
I’m assuming I’d get the 256 model of the XS successor and Verizon keeps the price at $47.91/month for two years. I do admit I’m fortunate that I can afford the $48/month.