Ladies and gentlemen,” spake the soft, collected voice of a well-rehearsed Tim Cook, “we can’t thank you enough for your patience. We know this season has been a particularly harsh one, due in no small part to the malfunction of thousands of your ergonomic iFurnaces—the future of coal-burning ovens—but we so appreciate your standing in the cold for the past several days to await the latest release of the iPhone.”

Cook’s voice sounded almost dreamlike as it reverberated off the pillars and buttresses of the repurposed superchurch that served as Apple’s Announcement Pod—and home of the Cupertino iGuanas, California’s newest (and most-ridiculed) basketball team.

As the crowd stampeded through the spacious corridors to occupy every square inch of the cultural landmark, the chorus of voices caused confusion for the Apple iHome devices that lined the walls, desperate to accommodate every absentminded grunt as if it were an edict from on high. There was a clamor and a din as each plebeian, through anguished cries, muttered their expectations to their friends and neighbors.

The screen transitioned to white, and a hologram of Steve Jobs appeared in front; the adulation of the mass reached fever pitch.

“Maybe they’ll switch back to the Roman Numeral system,” uttered one parishioner of the Church of Jobs, “like the Super Bowl!”

Maybe we’ll get the headphone jack back,” cried another lost soul as if begging Apple’s acquiescence, its mercy, its reason.

“Headphone jacks are a myth, your grandfather has been feeding you LIES,” a disgruntled youngster cried.

“What’s a headphone jack, daddy?” The whimper came from a toddler who, swaddled in his iBlanket, feared to speak too loud, lest the SmartMood feature pick up on his distress and switch playlists from Lullabies to Rage Against the Machine.

“I’m sorry, I show no results for ‘Headstone Jack’,” came the reply, in unison, from a fleet of Apple iHome Devices.

The voices grew more anxious (and the Apple SecurityBots more indiscriminately violent) as the crowd took its seats in the vast auditorium. Nary a note was uttered to the credit of Apple’s ergonomic new chairs, made with the latest contoured iPadding, artfully assembled by Chinese “Youth Artisans.”

“Welcome,” boomed the aged, kind tenor of Tim Cook, decades’-long CEO and 7-time winner of Apple Corporate’s Annual Karaoke Competition. The screen spanning the breadth of the stage lit up like the Fourth of July, a festival of colors dancing across its surface like one of those old Windows Media Player screensavers (that is, in the days before the Apple-Microsoft Cold War went hot, lest we forget the lives lost and the monitors burnt).

Apple speech on stage by Tim Cook with color splash

After some time spent indulging in this graphics-department masturbation, the seizure-prone demonstration gave way to a slate black rectangle, distinguished from the void around it by only the glint of light off of its geometric form. “Provocative” flashed across the screen, accompanied by the lone thump of a tom-tom. “Seductive” came afterwards, played to the tune of a cymbal crash. “A tour de force” less poetically graced the screen, the accompanying bass drum drowned out by the oohs and ahs of the throbbing mass of spectators.

Then, piece de resistance, Thus Spake Zarathustra blared its opening notes as the behemoth rolled and tumbled, revealing the fullness of its form. All at once it stopped, leaving only the quickening heart rate of the onlookers in its wake. The screen transitioned to white, and a hologram of Steve Jobs appeared in front; the adulation of the mass reached fever pitch. As a number of women’s panties rained down on the stage, phasing ineffectually through the projection—accompanied by outcries of “We love you Steve!” and “JOBS IS GOD!”—he opened his virtual mouth.

“As always, Apple continues to be at the center of innovation and at the forefront of regression,” sounded one voice from the horde.

“The iPhone 43 is finally here.”

All was silent in the crowd at long last, the people waiting on tenterhooks for the next string of syllables to be loosed from behind the virtual turtleneck.

“I want to be the first to reassure you Appleytes out there, we have heard your concerns. In the few cases where voicing your concerns did not clash with the signed End User License Agreement, warranting immediate jail-time per the 62nd Amendment, those concerns have even been addressed.”

You could have heard a pin drop in the crowd.

“For instance, we know that our devotees are tired of the short-circuiting that caused the last incarnation to detonate in your pockets. You don’t need to remind us of how serious that is, we all remember the days of the Samsung Intifada. As such, we are selling this newest model with a built-in blast shield Otter Case which should limit the inflammatory effects of this defect to the level of a small kitchen fire. The iShield: stop protecting your phone from the world; start protecting the world from your phone.”

Tepid applause gurgled forth from the crowd and washed up against the walls, coating them in the echoes of adequately-met expectations.

“As always, Apple continues to be at the center of innovation and at the forefront of regression,” sounded one voice from the horde. Then, “I hope I can get some good money for my kidney, I really need this new phone!”

“But that’s not all,” guaranteed Tim Cook’s disembodied voice.

“That’s right!” Jobs’ echo echoed. “We flipped a coin and got heads this year. You all know what that means.” He smiled devilishly to the amusement of half the crowd and abject disappointment of the other half. “That means the phones will get bigger this year.” In far-flung cities, stocks plunged and betting markets descended into chaos.

“It’s like Groundhog Day with these people,” a teenage girl’s voice was heard to say before her apprehension by SecurityBots. “Ouch,” she cried, “what did I say?”

“Now playing ‘What’d I Say’ by Ray Charles,” came the announcement from the series of iHome speakers, the opening notes pouring in from all sides before another crowd-goer ordered them silenced.

“Why do we subject ourselves to this?”

And that was all it took: one brave, fed-up voice from the fray to emerge and declare his rejection of Apple’s so-called advances, one voice to decry the injustice of their labor practices and pricing and compatibility issues and pointless revisions, year-in and year-out. These words drove through the heart of the crowd like a stake and soon everyone was frenzied, animated as if all of the sudden gaining consciousness of their own position.

But this was not Jobs’ first rodeo.

“Also, we’ve improved the camera, ever so slightly.”

And again the throng stood in rapt attention.