I also can not understand why people get trapped into two year contracts with a company or other. I just buy the phone I want, contract free, and then choose the operator. Here in Portugal, unlocked phones are much more expensive than under-contract ones, but it still compensates.
For someone that travels, buying an unlocked operator free phone is no problem at all, and then just bring it back to your own country, go to an operator store, and choose your plan, get the sim card, install it, and that's it.
I agree that customer care and customer perception of how people are being taken care of in case of problems, is very important, and Apple excels at it. But Apple's business is selling stuff, not communication plans, so they can not afford to treat customers badly.