I think it is helpful to think of this in terms of delta, and actual, value.
Before, when the new phone came out the old phone dropped a hundred dollars, and you could buy the old tech for a bargain price. Now, the old phone is getting stuffed in a plastic case, and you can buy it for the same bargain price as before.
So in terms of delta, Apple has certainly gone backwards. You are getting less value at the "bargain price" than you did before.
In terms of ACTUAL...