2018 iPhones may continue $1,000 trend. Plus: A virus at Apple chip factory – CNET

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In this week's iPhone news, Apple may've fueled a thousand-dollar-phone trend that could continue to drive up the price of flagship phones across the board. Also: A virus hits one of Apple's main chip makers, raising concerns about production delays, and we look at how Apple could be planning to transform your iPhone into a passport and ID card.

The thousand-dollar iPhone X could be the new normal

With a base price of $999, the iPhone X set the record for the most expensive iPhone ever, but that clearly hasn't stopped consumers from snatching it up. Despite the skeptics who doubted whether it would sell as well, the 10th anniversary iPhone has been Apple's best seller each week since it went on sale Nov. 3.

At this rate, why wouldn't Apple apply the same business model to the 2018 iPhone lineup? We're expecting at least one of the three rumored iPhones to share the same price tag.

And it looks like the competition has already taken note. Samsung's newly released Galaxy Note 9 is also priced at $999, a $50 increase over last year's Note 8.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Even "value" darling OnePlus (as CNET editor Jessica Dolcourt calls it) signals that price hikes are here to stay. In addition to rising prices for components, companies like Apple and Samsung are seeking higher profit margins per unit to compensate for the fact that people aren't trading up their phones as frequently as before, Jessica's article says.

Virus at iPhone chip factory

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), aka the company reportedly making the A12 chip for the 2018 iPhones, was hit by a virus on Aug. 3 that shut down production over the weekend, according to a Bloomberg report.


But that doesn't necessarily mean delays for the next iPhones. Because TSMC didn't specify which facilities were infected, there's a chance that the ones handling the A12 chip weren't hit. Most of the factories were up and running by Monday, so even if they were impacted, a two-day delay probably wouldn't scotch Apple's launch schedule.

In a statement Monday, TSMC also said it would be able to make up for lost time in the fourth quarter. It also noted that the virus didn't come from a hack, but rather a "misoperation during the software installation process for a new tool."

Could your iPhone replace your passport?

First your credit cards, and now your personal identification. Apple's plans to turn your iPhone into your digital wallet were further exposed in a patent published this week by the United States Patent and Trademark Office that shows how the iPhone would secure "document importation". This could include driver's licenses, ID cards, passports and any other form of government issued identification. According to an Apple Insider report, the same system could even be used for nongovernment purposes like company badges or access cards. Information would be kept safe using a separate secure element similar to the system used in Apple Pay and could be accessed only by the authorities using short-range radio: RFID or NFC.

But a patent doesn't necessarily guarantee that the feature or product will make it to market, and Apple would still need to clear some hurdles to make this a reality.

Last week's iPhone news: 2018 iPhones may be missing something, and iOS 12 hides clues about the next iPhone

If rumors are true, Apple may be ditching the free headphone jack adapter that comes in the box with this year's iPhones. Plus, the latest iOS 12 beta release has some hidden clues that hint at dual SIM support for at least one of the 2018 iPhones. And even the thousand-dollar price tag of the iPhone X didn't stop consumers from buying a bunch of them; 43.3 million units according to Apple's third quarter earnings report, released last week.

But the biggest news: Apple hit a trillion, and it has the iPhone to thank!

Will Apple ditch the dongle?


The headphone jack adapter bundled with the iPhone since the iPhone 7 might become a separate accessory.

If the rumors are true, you'll be losing that headphone dongle before you open the box of this year's iPhones. According to a Barclays report note published by MacRumors Apple won't include a Lightning-to-3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter in the box of the 2018 iPhones. The company has included this dongle for free with the purchase of an iPhone since it removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Now Playing: Watch this: The cheapest 2018 iPhone could be the last to arrive


The phones also included a set of Lightning EarPods alongside the charger in the box, but this time Apple is also rumored to be swapping out the wall charger and cable for a USB-C to Lightning fast-charging option. Users still hoping to use 3.5mm headphones with these new phones would have to purchase the adapter separately from Apple for $9 (£9 or AU$12).

iOS 12 hides clues about the next iPhones


We've been hearing murmurs about a dual SIM option on the next iPhones, but now there's evidence to back up these claims. Well, sort of. According to an article published in 9to5Mac, the latest iOS 12 beta 5 has some clues hidden in the code that would indicate dual SIM support. Code alone doesn't guarantee that we'll see a reflection of this in September's hardware, but it does mean the company's working on this kind of option.

A dual SIM option doesn't make much sense in the US, where there's currently no carrier support, but it would help Apple attract the overseas markets, where it's looking to expand as expressed in its earnings call Tuesday.

Apple hits a trillion

Apple has officially joined the four comma club. The stock hit the magic number of $207.05 per share on Thursday, following a positive earnings report two days earlier.

Now Playing: Watch this: Apple just became a $1 trillion company


Apple shares the limelight with the only other public company that's hit the trillion-dollar mark before: PetroChina which does oil and gas. But that was way back in 2007 and it was only sitting pretty on the Shanghai Stock Exchange for a short while. The other company that's potentially worth even more than Apple is Saudi Aramco, the oil and energy firm. Reports suggest it could be worth up to $2 trillion. But unlike Apple, it's a private company, so there's no way to know for sure.


Tim Cook

James Martin/CNET

All things considered, this is a serious turnaround for a company that almost went bankrupt in the late 1990s. But other tech companies are nipping at Apple's heels. Amazon's hovering around the $877 billion mark, while Alphabet (aka Google's parent company) is at around $854 billion.

It's all about the iPhone

Apple owes most of its revenue to the iPhone, which continues to keep bringing in more sales despite a general slowdown in the smartphone market. Even the hefty price tag didn't stop the company from selling 41.3 million iPhones in the fiscal third quarter of 2018, a 1 percent increase over last year.

Josh Miller/CNET

And the company as a whole did even better — increasing revenue by 17 percent is a pretty big deal. Apple's services, aka the App Store, Apple Music and iCloud, make up a thinner slice of the revenue pie compared with the iPhone, but they've been growing at a much faster pace of about 30 percent for the second quarter in a row.

The same can be said about the company's "others" category, which includes the Apple Watch and AirPods and which increased 37 percent over last year. Mac numbers were pretty much the only ones that dipped this quarter, but that obviously didn't stop the trillion-dollar Apple train from chugging to the top.

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