The reason Apple needs help is because the phone has “Erase All Data After 10 Failed Passcode Attempts” turned on. Without that feature the government would have just built this robot to brute force the password and this wouldnt have been an issue:
What this means for the general public is that we now know that the FBI can not bypass this setting so if you care about your privacy you should enable it.
Doing so is fairly easy:
While this is a “dangerous” setting getting the phone to actually erase the data is actually pretty hard. You have to wait through the following timeouts so that your toddler (or a malicious jerk) will not accidently erase your phone:
You get used to seeing this screen a lot:
After the 10th attempt this happens: