cell phone providers, bad. Manufacturers, even worse
Regarding Apple's statement: "If an iPhone or iPod [or any other brand phone] has been damaged by liquid ... the service for such liquid damage is not covered by ... warranty"
You should be so lucky. If you've ever had the experience of talking with your cellphone provider's customer service, I think you'll find that the warranty, as written, will not be honored. The conversation will go something like this:
"Please check the dot. What color is it?"
"Um, it's red."
"Sorry, your repair is not covered."
You will hear this regardless of what your actual symptom is. It doesn't matter what your problem is or what the ACTUAL cause is, once that little dot turns red or pink, no repair of ANY kind for ANY reason will be covered.
In principle, the dot is only an indication of water exposure, not a diagnosis of the cause of the failure. But, good luck trying to get any kind of help once the dot has turned. What you reasonably should expect and are entitled to is to have your phone properly diagnosed, verifying that an actual, irreversible "deterioration or degradation of materials" has occurred. If the manufacturer can tell you exactly what deteriorated, and exactly how it caused your phone to malfunction, then, and only then, should you be liable for any repair or replacement.
What will really happen? Well, if you phone fails under warranty, you'll get an immediate, free replacement, probably overnighted. But, if the dot is pink or red, the best you can hope for is to be without any phone at all for two weeks to a month. Then, your phone will be examined, and you'll be charged a $50 to $100 diagnostic fee after which you'll get your phone back, NOT repaired and you'll still have to buy a new phone. Oh, and that's the best outcome. That only happens if you make a stink. Bottom line, you'll get bupkes.