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Apple to address Chinese iPhone ban with software update

Apple's iPhone 6s is among the models affected by the Chinese ban.

Last updated

After a Chinese court issued a preliminary injunction against certain iPhones for infringing on Qualcomm patents, Apple on Friday said it plans to resolve the issue with a software update expected for release next week.

In a statement issued to Reuters, Apple said an update will roll out next week "to address any possible concern about our compliance with the order" handed down by Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court in China this week.

"Based on the iPhone models we offer today in China, we believe we are in compliance," Apple said. "Early next week we will deliver a software update for iPhone users in China addressing the minor functionality of the two patents at issue in the case."

Qualcomm earlier this week said it won a preliminary injunction against certain iPhone models — iPhone 6s through iPhone X — that shipped with iOS 11. The company successfully argued Apple's previous-generation mobile operating system violates owned IP covering resizing photographs and app management on a touch screen.

The chipmaker intends to leverage the same patents against Apple's latest iPhone XS and XR, but Apple contends the IP does not apply to iPhones running iOS 12.

Details of Apple's iPhone update are not yet available. It can be presumed that Apple will provide customers a path to upgrade to a more recent version of iOS, one that does not incorporate infringing technology. Whether users will be forced to download the update is not clear.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While the court sided with Qualcomm, enforcement of the iPhone ban requires time. In a statement to AppleInsider earlier this week, Apple said all iPhone models remain up for sale in China following the court decision.

"Qualcomm's effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world," Apple said. "We will pursue all our legal options through the courts."

To that end, Apple filed a request for reconsideration with the Chinese court, a move that will further stall the pending injunction.