Yesterday, Qualcomm announced that it was granted an injunction over the import and sale of iPhones in China since Apple violated two of its software-related patents. The blanket ban affects many popular iPhones starting from the iPhone 6s to iPhone X.
At that time, it seemed like all these devices would be banned from being sold almost immediately in China. However, as it turns out, the ban is only on devices running iOS 11 which means it is not going to have any impact on Apple at all since it now sells the same devices with iOS 12 out of the box. This is because the suit was filed by Qualcomm in 2017 when iOS 12 was not even announced (or released).
Qualcomm, however, interprets the ban and ruling differently and says that it applies to iOS 12 as well. At this point, it is up to the Chinese patent court to clarify its ruling. If the ban does apply to iOS 12 as well, the only legal recourse with Apple would be to ask the court to reconsider its decision in 10 days from the original date of hearting.
If the ban does end up going into effect, it could have negatively affected Apple’s revenue by as much as $12 billion. While the iPhone 6s might not be selling in numbers but older iPhones like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X are still doing extremely well in China which is why it is important for Apple that they continue to remain on sale.
On the bright side, since the ban is related to two software patents, Apple can easily circumvent them by rolling out an update and changing the said behavior. The two patents include the way applications are managed on a smartphone and how photos are resized.