Today came another test. Over the weekend, the touch screen on my phone started going a little flaky and stopped recognizing the bottom row on the virtual keyboard. So I took the phone back to the Apple store. The salesperson (I feel silly using "genius" as a job title) confirmed the problem in three seconds, got a new phone from the back of the store, moved my SIM card, and sent me on my way with a new phone.
I spent a grand total of 20 minutes getting my problem solved, of which 15 minutes was spent futzing with the new phone, updating my information in Apple's records, and similar minor chores. There was no fuss, no hassle, no arguments. Just, "Yep, phone's not working right, let me get you a new one."
I took my phone back to the office, plugged it into my laptop, and it automatically restored everything. The entire process was astonishingly pain-free. I didn't even have to reset my wallpaper.
I've had my iPhone for three weeks now, and apparently Apple's policy is to repair (not replace) iPhones which break under warranty after more than two weeks. The salesperson made an exception for me without even being asked (apparently because "we've had a couple other phones come back with touch-screen problems")--though the repair process is apparently also painless. They ship off your phone for repair, give you a loaner, and mail back the repaired phone within a couple days. Since the loaner phone can be synced from your computer, you're never without a phone which has all your data and contacts.
Why can't companies other than Apple figure out how to make this work?