I am late in posting this update to my original dilemma, but after all talks with Apple fell through, I decided to just let it be and move on; after all, what else could I do?
Talks did indeed cease: right after the first of the year, nearly 3 months after I opened my ticket and after almost a month had gone by with no word from anybody at Apple, my executive relations contact finally got back to me for the last time, and told me in no uncertain terms that the engineers had informed her that they weren’t going to change anything, and as a result there was nothing that Apple could do for me. I thanked her for reaching out to me, but told her that what I was hearing Apple say to me is that they no longer valued me as a customer, and that I should switch to something else. In fact, I told her that they had, in effect, made my decision for me, which she of course denied was their intention. But what was done was done.
These days, I am using a Google/LG Nexus 4, which, despite doubt expressed by some about how honest Google’s claims about “openness” on their platform are, has at least proven to be much more open in the ways that matter to me as an end-user than iOS ever was. And at least when Google said that it was an “unlocked” phone, they used the term in the way that I expected it to be used and consistent with the way that the rest of the industry uses it, and true to their word, it works on every GSM carrier, does not fight me when I try to use it with a specific carrier (even an MVNO), and does not hand over control of parts of the phone to either the MVNO or the carrier that underlies the MVNO and lock me (or my actual carrier/MVNO) out of those same parts.
I am sad that it had to come to this, because even though the Nexus is a very good phone, all things being equal, I do prefer the iOS platform and definitely prefer the iPhone hardware. However, all things are not equal. At this point, I cannot even recommend iPhone in good conscience anymore to friends and family. So long, Apple, and thanks for all the fish.