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Should I pay $1,000 for the iPhone X?

Recode’s Dan Frommer joins Kara Swisher and Lauren Goode on the latest Too Embarrassed to Ask to answer your questions about Apple’s new hardware.

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A photographer takes a picture of Apple’s iPhone X at the unveiling event at Steve Jobs Theater. Recode / Dan Frommer

On Tuesday, Apple announced three new phones — the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the all-screen iPhone X (pronounced “ten”).

No, we don’t know why there is no iPhone 9.

However, on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, we answered all your other questions about the new phones and Apple’s other announcements, including the Series 3 Apple Watch and Apple’s foray into “wireless” charging, AirPower. In conversation with Kara Swisher and Lauren Goode, Recode Editor in Chief Dan Frommer explained what’s so different about the iPhone X.

“The first thing you notice is it doesn’t feel like an iPhone, because the corners are curved,” Frommer said. “There’s no home button at the bottom. It was disconcerting, even to someone who is pretty adaptable to these things.”

“They changed significantly how you use the phone in two ways,” Frommer added. “One, there’s no home button, so that button you click 500 times a day, subconsciously, you can’t do that anymore, it’s gone. Instead of the home button, you swipe up now, from the bottom of the screen. And to unlock it, you don’t have your thumbprint on the home button anymore, you have a facial-recognition system called Face ID.”

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Even for people who don’t follow Apple as closely as the Too Embarrassed crew, one feature of the iPhone X is already well known: Its $1,000 price tag. Goode said the price isn’t going to be an issue for anyone who actually buys the iPhone X.

“I think the people who spend $1,000 on a phone are the people who are going to — they’re going to make that thing work!” Goode said. “They just want to say they have a $1,000 fancy iPhone, and they’ll say, ‘No, it’s fine! It works great!’”

The group disagreed on why the phone costs that much: Goode believes it has to do with Apple’s flagging hardware sales, while Frommer says that’s just reflective of the higher-end phone’s costly features, like an OLED screen. But he concurred that the public uproar about phones crossing into the four digits is much ado about nothing.

“I asked around, ‘Why are people freaking out about $1,000?’ and I think Paul Graham said, ‘Because people have 10 fingers,’” Frommer said. “I think that’s the right answer: People have 10 fingers and all of a sudden, this is another digit. This is a lot of money, but it’s a freakin’ computer in your pocket that does almost everything you want.”

“If you want a $200 phone, you can buy a $200 phone,” he added.

Have questions about the Apple event that we didn’t get to in this episode? Tweet them to @Recode with the hashtag #TooEmbarrassed, or email them to

(And if an Android phone is more your speed, check out last week’s episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, in which Dieter Bohn from The Verge joined us to discuss the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and other new Android devices.)

Be sure to follow @LaurenGoode, @KaraSwisher and @Recode to be alerted when we're looking for questions about a specific topic.

If you like this show, you should also check out our other podcasts:

  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts— and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara and Lauren. Tune in next Friday for another episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask!

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