Wow! That sucks big time. Although far cheaper than a brand new device, it's still alot. This is the drawback to the optically bonded screen. But still damn. They could always reseal the screen after replacing it.
I hope enough noise is made about this once it comes time that peoples battery start conking out.
Apple only charges 99 and they send you a refurbished unit. Microsfot needs to copy that model on it.
There are ways to ensure a longer lifetime with lithium ion battery though.
Like the other poster said, how about the RT? As that definitely can't cost that much to replace. Probably half the total cost. Like for the pro.
It is $319 to replace the battery (really swap the whole unit) for an RT. Will not be worth it. Makes the device disposable once the battery starts dying unless you plan to keep it plugged in like a desktop in a couple years.
Apple charges $99 for an iPad battery replacement and $129 for a Macbook Air Apple - Support - Service Answer Center