Apple and Qualcomm are not the best of friends at the moment, and the relationship breakdown is playing out in the courts. Earlier this week, Qualcomm saw some success in the Chinese courts and got most iPhones banned from sale and import into China due to patent infringement. However, Apple believes it can overcome the ban with a software update.
As Reuters reports, Apple intends to release a software update in China early next week that will address "the minor functionality of the two patents at issue in the case." In so doing, Apple could render the ban void before it even starts to have an impact on iPhone shipments and sales.
The ban as it currently stands means the iPhone X , iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone 6s can't be sold in China. The two patents these smartphones infringe cover how users adjust and reformat photos and how apps are managed using a phone's touch screen.
It's important to note that the infringement only applies to handsets running iOS 11 and not the more recent iOS 12. The software update next week will therefore be targeted specifically at iOS 11 users. At the same time, Apple filed a request for reconsideration with the court which invoked the preliminary injunction.
For now, Qualcomm believes the ban is already in force, but all models of iPhone remain available to purchase in China. By next week, the ban could be irrelevant, but that doesn't mean it will be removed immediately. As part of the reconsideration request, Apple offered to pay a "counter security" of roughly $87 million to get the ban lifted.