Apple will update iPhones to end Qualcomm legal battle

Apple to update iPhone software after threat of China ban

Qualcomm had sued Apple over two patents, one about photo editing and the other one about touchscreen gestures.

Chipmaker Qualcomm is asking China to ban sales of Apple's Xr, Xs, and Xs Max iPhones in the country, reports Engadget.

The US company said it was taking that step to ensure it complies fully with the ruling, which resulted in sales injunctions against six older versions of Apple's most important device.

"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". However, Apple's newest models, the iPhone XS and XR, were not covered by the ban because they had not yet been introduced when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit late past year.

"This is what Qualcomm needed to get some leverage to try to get Apple to finalize a deal", said Mike Walkley at Canaccord Genuity LLC.

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Qualcomm alleged that Apple infringed on two Qualcomm patents regarding managing apps and editing photographs.

Once Apple does push out an iOS update to its Chinese users, Qualcomm is unlikely to change its course of legal action.

Ultimately, it will be up to the Chinese courts to decide if this future software update will be enough to avoid the sales ban. Apple's response underscores the importance of the Chinese market, as well as Qualcomm's crucial role as a technology provider to the likes of Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp.

The new software may be part of Apple's attempt to keep the impact of the sales ban away from its latest devices. Qualcomm has countered that Apple is using its intellectual property without paying for it, and the legal cases are aimed at forcing it to lower licensing charges. Interestingly enough, a United States company banning another U.S. company on the foreign ground will boost the domestic competitors even more. It says the harm done by the ban to itself, the Chinese government and other companies will be "irreparable".

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