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Apple gets hacked from Australia, and catches flak in Japan and Turkey

Here's a recap of all the iPhone news this week.

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James Martin/CNET

This week's iPhone news truly gets global as a teen hacker from Australia accesses the company's mainframe. Then, Japan's Fair Trade Commission is investigating Apple for some shady antitrust dealings as Turkey's president starts eyeing Samsung phones as an iPhone alternative.

Apple gets hacked… by a fan

Teenagers can show their love in strange ways. One teen in Melbourne, Australia, for example, was such a fan of Apple that he decided to hack it.

The boy gained access to Apple's mainframe, downloaded 90GB worth of secure files (that he stored in a folder named "hacky hack hack," no less) and accessed customer accounts.

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After Apple noticed something was up, the hacker was blocked and the Australian Federal Police raided his home.

The teen pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing. Meanwhile, Apple reassured its customers that "at no point during this incident was their personal data compromised."

Apple isn't playing so nice in Japan

Japan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC), which is the country's antitrust watchdog, is looking into reports that Apple allegedly pressured Yahoo Japan to slow down its development of a gaming platform.

Known as Yahoo's Game Plus, the platform had the potential to become an App Store competitor. Since its launch in July 2017, it attracted 52 developers and was less strict than Apple about things like sales, fees and software updates.

New Apple Shinjuku Store Preview In Tokyo

Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images

But just when it looked like it was about to take off, development dwindled. Yahoo reportedly told its business partners that this was due to pressure from Apple. Now the FTC is taking a look for itself.

Turkey president says 'no dice' with the iPhone

The US and Turkey have not been on good terms lately. After the US sanctioned two Turkish ministers over the detention of an American pastor and President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports, the Turkish lira's taken a massive tumble.

In retaliation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that the country will ban US electronics, while specifically pointing out Apple.

"We will implement a boycott against America's electronic goods," he said. "If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung elsewhere." Erdogan also cited Vestel, Turkey's own electronic company.

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan in August 2018.

Getty Images

Other iPhone news this week:

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From top to bottom: The iPhone X, Pixel 2, Huawei P20 Pro and the Galaxy S9 Plus.

Angela Lang/CNET

Last week's iPhone news: 2018 iPhones may continue $1,000 trend. Plus: A virus at Apple chip factory

Apple may have 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.

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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.

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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 already, so even if they were impacted, a two-day delay probably wouldn't scotch Apple's launch schedule.

In a statement, TSMC also said it would be able to make up for lost time in the fourth quarter. It 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 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.