Apple scrambles to release iPhone update as China sales ban looms

Apple is planning an iPhone software update it hopes will ward off the threat of a ban on iPhone sales in China.

Earlier this week, Qualcomm was granted a legal injunction, which could halt the sale of all iPhones running iOS 11 or earlier, as part of a long-running dispute between the two U.S. tech titans.

Currently the models in question (the iPhone 6S to iPhone X) remain on sale in the country, but Apple is now taking steps to ensure that continues to be the case. Starting next week, a software update will remedy what Apple says is ‘minor functionality’ pertaining to the two patents in question.

In a statement to Reuters, Apple said: “Based on the iPhone models we offer today in China, we believe we are in compliance. 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 disputes that a software update will resolve the issue, claiming it doesn’t change the Chinese court’s order.

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The company’s general counsel Don Rosenberg said: “Apple continues to disregard and violate the Fuzhou court’s orders” despite the planned software changes. They are legally obligated to immediately cease sales, offers for sale and importation of the devices identified in the orders and to prove compliance in court.”

There’s plenty at stake for Apple in this case. Any restriction on sales in China would add to the woes of slowing iPhone sales around the world. It’s also possible the case could be politicised, given the ongoing issues with the Chinese firm Huawei and the United States, and the Trump trade war with China.

Should Qualcomm and Apple get together for a pint and sort out their issues? Or are you enjoying watching the scrap between the US tech titans? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.