Apple Readies Software Update To Thwart Qualcomm's Chinese iPhone Sales Ban

Apple and Qualcomm aren't on friendly terms right now considering that the two firms are currently embroiled in a long-running legal battle over patents and royalties. Qualcomm claims that Apple owes billions in royalty payments, while Apple maintains that its devices don't infringe on Qualcomm patents. Qualcomm was granted a sales ban on some older iPhone models in China and is now trying to add the iPhone XR and iPhone XS to the sales ban.

iPhone XR

Any possibility of having its new hotness banned in China has Apple scrambling to ready a software update that completely bypass the Qualcomm patents in question. Apple has confirmed that it will be pushing out software updates starting next week with Apple explicitly stating that the updates are to "address any possible concern" about its compliance with the Chinese order. That order was handed down when a Chinese court ordered a ban on older iPhone models (iPhone 6S through iPhone X) for violating a pair of Qualcomm patents.

Apple has stated that it believes that it complies with the Chinese order based on the iPhone models that are offered in China right now. As for the software update, Apple says that it addresses "the minor functionality of the two patents at issue in the case." The sales ban order was handed down by the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court.

The patents at the center of the Chinese case have to do with features relating to image resizing and managing apps on a touchscreen. Apple has requested that the court reconsider its ruling noting that any sales ban on iPhone devices would impact Chinese suppliers, taxes it pays to Chinese authorities, and consumers in the country. Apple also argues that being allowed to continue to sell iPhones in China doesn't represent "irreparable harm" to Qualcomm, something that is key to issuing a preliminary injunction in China.