Everyone knows that the iPhone is an expensive bit of technology, but overall its success has shown that it's "worth it" in most places. What's interesting is that the iPhone is NOT having much success in India, where the monthly payment can't hope to subsidize the costly phone. Says Niti Bhan:
I'll say it again about the iPhone, business models need to be designed as much as the product for the market they are intended to operate in, taking the nuances of culture, socioeconomic development as well as the customer's mindset into account. That is, as Neelakantan puts it so pithily in his most recent comment, "know your customer" and that's something we know that Apple hasn't quite managed to do yet. After all, their design success is primarily through designing for themselves.
Having the same marketing story for every market world wide certainly has its advantages, but perhaps there's room for some diversity here. Then again, Apple may have its current focus on affluent markets and plan to customize and optimize things later.