Earlier this week, a Chinese court banned the sales of a number of iPhone models for violating two of chip maker Qualcomm’s patents. The ban would take some time to implement and was appealed by Apple, but it could potentially cost Apple millions of dollars a day.
Now, however, it appears that Apple has an elegant solution for the issue — a software update.
The update, which the company will start rolling early next week, should “address any possible concern about our compliance with the order,” Apple told Reuters on Friday.
If this satisfies the court, Apple would be allowed to continue selling the affected iPhone models, namely the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.
Note that Qualcomm asked Chinese courts to ban Apple’s newer phones — the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR — just days after it won the first injunction against Apple.
The two patents have to do with resizing photographs, and managing apps on a phone’s touch screen. Apple’s update would presumably alter or remove some of the phones’ features, but the company told Reuters the functionality related to the patents was “minor.”
The patent disputes between the two companies extend beyond China’s borders. In January 2017, Apple filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm for essentially being a patent troll, and in May 2017, Qualcomm considered seeking U.S. import ban for Apple’s iPhones.
Apple’s proposed solution likely won’t be the last we hear of this dispute. But as it typically happens, the two sides will ultimately settle all this with a (very big) number.