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An Apple a Day: The $32 Million iPhone That Never Was

August 5, 2016, 6:00 PM UTC
Photograph by Johannes Eiseler—AFP/Getty Images

An Apple a Day is a weekly roundup of the biggest Apple news this week. To see last week’s roundup, click here.

It might be summer, but that hasn’t stopped the Apple (AAPL) news from flowing in. This week, the company launched a new remote app it introduced at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, announced App Store success, and found its next iPhone once again the subject of countless video and image leaks. Needless to say, there’s no slowing of Apple news on these warm summer days, and I’ve slapped together some of the biggest news for this week’s An Apple a Day.

Read on to see the big stories from the Apple universe this week:

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  1. Apple this week launched an outstanding new remote app for those who own the company’s second-, third-, and fourth-generation Apple TV units. The Apple TV Remote app is a free download to iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, and comes with the ability to quickly search for video and movies, use Siri to find content, and play-and-pause action with ease. Apple touted the app as a major improvement at WWDC in June, and the company is right.
  2. It’s a good thing you’re trying to buy a smartphone in this era and not in 1985. That was the result of a study conducted by Internet marketing company WebpageFX this week, which said that getting all of the hardware and software currently offered in a high-end smartphone like the iPhone would’ve cost consumers $32.1 million in 1985. The cost includes a $9,000 mobile phone and a GPS navigator for $6,630. If you wanted the same processing power as today’s iPhone, you would’ve needed to buy the $32 million Cray-2 supercomputer. Oh, how times have changed.
  3. Apple released a new ad this week contending that its iPad Pro, the company’s business-focused tablet, is actually a computer. While some raised eyebrows at the claim, Apple asked a simple question in the ad” “What’s a computer?” The company’s question makes sense in light of the increasing popularity of two-in-one hybrid, or devices that can be used both as a tablet and a notebook. Technically, with the right accessories, the iPad Pro fits that definition. So, is the iPad Pro really a computer? Fortune explored the question on Wednesday.
  4. Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday said that “July was a record-breaking for the App Store,” adding that the company paid out more cash to developers in July than any month since the App Store launched in 2008. Apple’s App Store revenue-sharing with developers has been soaring over the last several years, and while Apple didn’t provide actual numbers, it’s possible the hugely popular Pokémon Go, which launched in July, contributed to that success.
  5. Apple is serious about finding bugs in its software. In fact, the company announced at the Black Hat cyber security conference in Las Vegas on Thursday that it would pay up to $200,000 to anyone who could find serious security flaws in its software. Apple is limiting the program to approximately two dozen researchers, however, so not everyone will get a chance to cut through its operating system code.
  6. The Rio Olympics are set to kick off on Friday, and Apple is ready. During the opening ceremonies on Friday, Apple will run an ad called “Human Family.” Part of its “Shot on iPhone” campaign, the ad’s theme focuses on finding common ground in a world that has been wracked by great divides and violence. The ad is based on Maya Angelou’s 1990s poem “Human Family,” and includes a narration by the late poet laureate.
  7. Those who have had their Apple iCloud passwords hacked might be a target of ransomware, Dutch Apple-tracking site Apple Tips reported this week. Once hackers gain access to an iOS user’s iCloud account, they can lock the user’s iPhone or iPad and request a $50 payment to unlock it. However, the flaw can be easily overcome by resetting the iCloud password and simply swiping past the lock screen and inputting the iPhone or iPad’s on-device passcode.
  8. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved Apple’s application to sell electricity in six regional power markets around the U.S. The decision will allow Apple to sell any excess electricity it generates from three solar projects in Nevada and California. Apple will be able to sell the electricity at market rates to consumer homes, according to the Commission.
  9. Apple hopes to create the virtual TV guide to beat them all, according to a new report. The company is reportedly working on a guide that would run across its iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, which would allow users to see all of the programming available on television, popular entertainment apps, and other sources, the report says. The feature would likely be most useful on the Apple TV, where those apps (and programming) are easily viewed from the comfort of the couch.

For more about Apple’s iPhone, watch:

One more thing…If you’re interested in seeing how Apple’s new campus, called Apple Campus 2 or the “spaceship,” is coming along, documentarian Matthew Roberts has you covered. On Friday, he published a nearly five-minute video of drone footage he captured recently while flying it over Apple’s massive campus. When complete, the campus will span 2.8 million square feet of office space and house 12,000 employees.