A Layman's Guide To The New iPhones, And Apple's Other New Crap

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Earlier today, Apple Inc., a failing novelty-watch interest based in California, announced a new range of products. You can claw through technical explanations of the tick-tock of every little thing, but this is a guide for everything normal people actually need to know.

New iPhones

They’re called the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, and I swear to God, these glorious dickheads put up a slide that read, “The only thing that’s changed is everything.” That’s fucking insane. It’s a new iPhone. It’s a new S iPhone! It’s the exact same phone!!! It’s a little better and faster—Apple says this chip is 70 percent faster, which, sure?—and the camera is a little better, but it’s the same phone as last year, just a little better in the ways phones get better every year. Your phone from two years ago is still perfectly fine, unless you broke it.


The one truly new thing about this year’s model is something called 3D Touch. Basically, your iPhone is pressure-sensitive now, and has buzzy feedback, and vibrates on your fingers. (This isn’t exactly new, since it’s already in Apple Watch more or less, but that only means you haven’t seen it in person, because Apple Watch is hilarious garbage and no one wants one.) Some of the gestures, like pressing hard and swiping to switch apps, seem genuinely convenient, though, so you’ll probably use this a lot.


There’s another sorta-new thing called Live Photo that lets you take video (shut up, nerds, it’s compressed video) while you take a picture, and when you press down on the picture, it plays the video you took. It’s literally that joke where you say you’re taking a picture but take a video instead and humiliate your friends. This is marginally cool and also a tremendous waste of dozens of engineers’ time and something you’ll maybe use now and then, but probably not. Also, Windows Phone has had this for years, but no one cares, because what is Windows Phone? (The unexplained proliferation of Nokia phones was the single most unbelievable part of Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, a movie where Tom Cruise fights a jet engine in a secret underwater lair.)

But seriously, your phone is fine. If your phone works, it’s a good phone, and an artifact of the miracle of our time. The iPhone 5S especially is still fine, because it was built with a 64-bit chip, and that will allow it to stay on par for a while still. I’m not going to tell you how to spend your money, but the 6S and 6S Plus (remember: Apple phones now come in HUGE and EVEN FUCKING HUGER) are fractional updates, at a time when buying a new phone is costlier than ever. Speaking of which:

Holy shit, they cost HOW MUCH?

Right, see, it’s possible you didn’t know this, but iPhones have always cost around $600. But from the very first models, iPhones have been subsidized by your carrier, meaning you’ve probably been paying $200 or $300 for years. This year, carriers are killing those programs off, which is easily the most important thing for you to know about today/whenever you buy a new phone.


Instead, you’re now paying for your phone at full freight, over a 24-month installment plan on top of your monthly phone bill. Here’s a Lifehacker post about this, but the short version is financing your phone is not worth it, and you actually can’t afford it if you can’t afford to buy the phone at full cost up front.


There’s also a new iPhone Upgrade program, where you get a new unlocked iPhone every year, along with AppleCare+, for $32 a month. This is $768 over two years, so it’s not THAT MUCH different from the cost of buying your own phone once every two years. But remember: The best way to change phones is actually buying a brand-new phone each year and then selling it the year after. As long as you don’t completely destroy it, you should be able to sell a year-old iPhone easily. Or, you can BUY a year-old iPhone from some inadequate dogfucker who has to have a new fucking iPhone every year. It’s a self-sustaining ecosystem.


Still ass.

What in God’s name is an “iPad Pro”?

Excellent question. It is HILARIOUS. It is a Microsoft Surface. It is not a laptop and doesn’t work like one. It is a 12.9-inch iPad that costs anywhere from $1,000 to $1,350 (LOL). It is fucking gigantic. Look at this shit:


This is what gets me: The iPad Air is a perfect gadget, and probably the most revelatory piece of consumer technology since the iPhone 4. It’s a fully realized idea. The Surface is fucking garbage: I used three generations of those things for months and months. It’s just a bad experience, and the people who like it are mutants (or, fine, enthusiasts, cheap-asses, or members of a narrow set of professions to whom this sort of thing appeals, like Mutant Doctor). I have no idea why you’d try to marry the two, outside of blithe cowing to other people’s dumbass ideas. It is profoundly dumb. They will sell 500 million of these.

And there’s more! Specifically, this isn’t a Microsoft Surface Pro clone ... it’s a Surface Rt clone. Meaning, it runs iOS and not OS X, and the only “desktop” processes you can do on it are the ones with a dedicated and optimized iOS app. Right now, that includes SPREADSHEETS with Microsoft Office and Photoshop, both of which are fine, but like, okay, whatever? The actual prices run $800, $950, and $1080, with the stylus at $100 and the keyboard at $170. The Kindle DX is down to $250.


Some more specifics: The width is the same as the height of a regular iPad, meaning that Split View (two apps at once) and other random junk will work fine, probably. It’s got better speakers, which is the least impressive thing anyone has ever bragged about, because iPad speakers have been uniformly dogshit, always. And it has an A9x chip that Apple calls “desktop class” and which it says is “faster than 80 percent of portable PCs shipped last year.” Don’t believe this. It will run fine with iOS, because iOS is a relatively stable platform, but mobile chips are still leagues away from being comparable to good desktop chips.


As to the “Pro” in the name, it’s ... inconclusive who this is for. For context, remember that technology like what you’ll find in a Wacom Cintiq isn’t just about the stylus—it’s about the embedded tech in the screen, and the best also have proprietary software that allows the two to communicate. Those are professional-grade tools. We don’t have specs on what specifically is in this thing, though it’s probably a safe bet that if Apple had this tech (or a license for it), it would be bragging about it instead of giving a five-minute presentation about a deep-industry medical-records app. (Next year at WWDC: LIVE AIR-TRAFFIC-CONTROL SEMINAR!!!) I guess wait for the reviews, but don’t just run out and buy this as your primary illustration thingy.

Apple Pencil

Anyway, along with the iPad HODOR, Apple also made an APPLE PENCIL. Just look at this shit:

Obviously, this is prima facie hilarious. And yes, every single day, modern Apple whips another dong into the face of Steve Jobs’s principles of interface. (“If you see a stylus, they blew it.”) But for a minute, just stop and take in the scene of these morons reverse-engineering a pencil and paper, and getting something that costs $1,300 and very likely works only barely.


Apple Event White-Dude Count (Rough Notes)

  • 1 tim
  • 2 watch bro
  • 4 watch app bros
  • 5 cold killer phil schiller
  • 6 microsoft bro (with asian boy in a non-speaking role)
  • 7 adobe bro
  • YO A WHITE LADY! british(ish?) medical app lady
  • 8 eddie and his terrible shirt
  • a TV apps lady who came out to demo screensavers........
  • aussie asian app bro who just copied Frogger with a chicken (and his non-speaking white servant [8.5?])
  • 10 white app bro who copied Wii Baseball and his other bro
  • 11 a sports app bro who tucked his shirt in wrong
  • 12 iphone bro
  • 14 WARHAMMER 40k BRO + lackey

In other iPad news...

Oh, also, the iPad Mini “2” is now $270. That’s not a bad deal. It’s fine. It has that 64-bit A7 chip we talked about earlier. Why does the new one cost 400 dollars? Christ alive.


Anything else, shitbirds?

Your TV gets apps now. That’s it. These motherfuckers actually put up a slide that just said, “The future of TV is apps.” Specifically, Apple is opening up its Apple TV stream box to developers. Apple TV is good. It does its job, which is streaming videos to your TV. The apps (and new OS) will do other stuff, like search Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime all at once, which is genuinely useful and an exciting new task for Siri to fuck up.


The TV has some games, which you play on the tiny little remote. It’s probably fine. You probably won’t use it for that. Or maybe you will, and that’s fine. But probably not. (You can get universal apps that work on your phone, tablet, and TV, and which you only have to buy once, which is nice, I guess. I can already tell you, though, that Square is going to charge $900 for the iOS TV version of every Final Fantasy you love.) MLB has an app. It looks fine. If you have a ton of Apple shit and like your Apple TV and need another one for a different TV, this is fine. Or you can get a regular Apple TV for $70. The new one costs $150 or $200.


The Apple Watch

The Apple Watch now comes in rose gold and has a fall lineup of bands.