I hope the 4.7" iPhone+ becomes a reality. If it doesn't make an appearance then the 5S or 6 along with iOS 7 needs to really have some major new draws to keep all the 4S owners in the fold as their upgrades mature. Apple has never faced so much tough competition as they will in 2013 from Android. Not to mention a resurgent RIM that looks to have a pretty nice OS and a nostalgic but loyal base ready to stick with Blackberry or return if given a compelling reason.
A cheaper but not "cheap" iPhone also makes sense. The cheapest current new iPhone is the 8GB iPhone 4 which is still $450 - $500 depending on the country without subsidies. It is a quality phone but is perceived rightly or wrongly as old. Over 70% of the world's smartphone customers do not get any subsidy at all for a phone so they have to pay the full price. Even the U.S. has changed to an extent and has hurt Apple sales quite dramatically. If the carriers all had the same upgrade policies they had 2 or 3 years ago in place, Apple would have breezed by 50 million iPhone sales. I used to get a full upgrade every 12 months but now it is 18 months, and for some carriers 20 or 22 months. Phone geeks still upgrade often and own 3 or 4 phones, but they are a tiny minority.
Apple is good at making something cheaper in price without making it cheap. Even if that means taking essentially the guts out of the 4 or 4S and putting it into a plastic case to be able to offer a phone for $350. Many parents buy their kids those low end and dirt cheap Android phones that really are complete crap. But since kids lose and break phones it is a good choice since they are easy and cheap to replace. But once those kids get used to Android or any OS they tend to stay with what is familiar and comfortable and then buy a Galaxy or other expensive Android phone later. So a cheaper iPhone could serve as a gateway drug to lock them into the ecosystem.
Completely agree with you on everything. A cheaper phone. Can be done. Easily. And a larger phone. I need a larger phone. I rarely make calls on my iPhone, so a larger phone for computing would be perfect.
I won't buy an iPad because with LTE and 32 GB, it's WAY overpriced. Apple needs to stop gouging customers on upping the RAM and adding LTE. What a ripoff.
Disclaimer: I've been using Apple products for 30 years. And my kids and I have MacBook Pros and iPhones (4/4S).