Apple to address Chinese iPhone ban with software update

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2018
After a Chinese court issued a preliminary injunction against certain iPhones for infringing on Qualcomm patents, Apple on Friday said it plans to resolve the issue with a software update expected for release next week.

iPhone 6s
Apple's iPhone 6s is among the models affected by the Chinese ban.


In a statement issued to Reuters, Apple said an update will roll out next week "to address any possible concern about our compliance with the order" handed down by Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court in China this week.

"Based on the iPhone models we offer today in China, we believe we are in compliance," Apple said. "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 earlier this week said it won a preliminary injunction against certain iPhone models -- iPhone 6s through iPhone X -- that shipped with iOS 11. The company successfully argued Apple's previous-generation mobile operating system violates owned IP covering resizing photographs and app management on a touch screen.

The chipmaker intends to leverage the same patents against Apple's latest iPhone XS and XR, but Apple contends the IP does not apply to iPhones running iOS 12.

Details of Apple's iPhone update are not yet available. It can be presumed that Apple will provide customers a path to upgrade to a more recent version of iOS, one that does not incorporate infringing technology. Whether users will be forced to download the update is not clear.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While the court sided with Qualcomm, enforcement of the iPhone ban requires time. In a statement to AppleInsider earlier this week, Apple said all iPhone models remain up for sale in China following the court decision.

"Qualcomm's effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world," Apple said. "We will pursue all our legal options through the courts."

To that end, Apple filed a request for reconsideration with the Chinese court, a move that will further stall the pending injunction.


Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    Ha!. I'll bet this stimulates purchases of earlier models to either buy before you can't, or preparing for a grey market phone if they become scarce due to a ban.

    If the ban does go into effect, buyers of XS, XS Max, and XR get better resale value for their older phones.

    Or, the whole thing blows over. 

    Meanwhile, Apple buys back AAPL which earns more that 2X a ten year t-bill.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 278member
    Well, if the disputed code is no longer in the phones the issue is moot. Far easier than hardware. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,934moderator
    JFC_PA said:
    Well, if the disputed code is no longer in the phones the issue is moot. Far easier than hardware. 
    Exactly.  Worse case a completely different method of implementing the features could be implemented for that market.   For example, and this is only for illustrative purposes (I don’t know the specifics of the actually allegedly infringing functionality), let’s say that Qualcomm holds a patent on the jiggling icons you see when you long press an icon on the home page, and further that Qualcomm holds a parent on the drag and drop process for re-arranging those icons on screen and between pages.  Apple could simply stop the jiggling and make the icons pulse, for example.  It could then implement a means of tapping an icon to give focus, then tapping another to indicate the target for the move.  Done and done.  Ship it!
     
    edited December 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    *poof*, there goes Mollenkopf’s weak attempt to get the brownie. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,818member
    Meanwhile, Apple buys back AAPL which earns more that 2X a ten year t-bill.
    It doesn't directly earn Apple anything when they buy back stock. It has no book value once they do so. 
    jony0
  • Reply 6 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,818member
    JFC_PA said:
    Well, if the disputed code is no longer in the phones the issue is moot. Far easier than hardware. 
    Exactly.  Worse case a completely different method of implementing the features could be implemented for that market.   For example, and this is only for illustrative purposes (I don’t know the specifics of the actually allegedly infringing functionality), let’s say that Qualcomm holds a patent on the jiggling icons you see when you long press an icon on the home page, and further that Qualcomm holds a parent on the drag and drop process for re-arranging those icons on screen and between pages.  Apple could simply stop the jiggling and make the icons pulse, for example.  It could then implement a means of tapping an icon to give focus, then tapping another to indicate the target for the move.  Done and done.  Ship it!
     
    Or Foxconn could take a license just as Pegatron has. I'm pretty surprised they did not as large as they are and considering the breadth of product they build and sell to companies like Google, Apple, etc.
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 7 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,976member
    JFC_PA said:
    Well, if the disputed code is no longer in the phones the issue is moot. Far easier than hardware. 
    "Apple contends the IP does not apply to iPhones running iOS 12" and "resizing photographs and app management on a touch screen" Sounds to me like it's outdated code that's already been replaced in iOS 12. Therefore, Apple has already complied with all iPhones capable of running iOS 12. I don't see it as jiggling icons. I see it as something that never should have been patented but it was so Apple easily re-coded around it. Once Apple releases code for <iOS 12, it will probably use code very similar to that in iOS 12 and they won't be using any so-called patented IP, which really isn't intellectual but a common sense way of resizing a screen image and managing apps.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Then shouldn't this same Chinese court ban most of products in China for violating IP?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,818member
    rob53 said:
    JFC_PA said:
    Well, if the disputed code is no longer in the phones the issue is moot. Far easier than hardware. 
    "Apple contends the IP does not apply to iPhones running iOS 12" and "resizing photographs and app management on a touch screen" Sounds to me like it's outdated code that's already been replaced in iOS 12. Therefore, Apple has already complied with all iPhones capable of running iOS 12. 
    If it was "already replaced" why would Apple be saying they'll roll out a China-specific iPhone update very soon which they hope avoids infringing QC property and the sales ban?
    edited December 2018 bonobob
  • Reply 10 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,107administrator
    gatorguy said:
    rob53 said:
    JFC_PA said:
    Well, if the disputed code is no longer in the phones the issue is moot. Far easier than hardware. 
    "Apple contends the IP does not apply to iPhones running iOS 12" and "resizing photographs and app management on a touch screen" Sounds to me like it's outdated code that's already been replaced in iOS 12. Therefore, Apple has already complied with all iPhones capable of running iOS 12. 
    If it was "already replaced" why would Apple be saying they'll roll out a China-specific iPhone update very soon which they hope avoids infringing QC property and the sales ban?
    I wasn't able to get anybody on the horn last night, but, from this morning's follow-up:

    Sources inside Apple not authorized to speak on behalf of the company advised to AppleInsider on Friday morning that "We are certain that iOS 12 is non-infringing, but the fix that we will apply early next week will make it more obvious."
    SpamSandwichGabywatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,818member
    gatorguy said:
    rob53 said:
    JFC_PA said:
    Well, if the disputed code is no longer in the phones the issue is moot. Far easier than hardware. 
    "Apple contends the IP does not apply to iPhones running iOS 12" and "resizing photographs and app management on a touch screen" Sounds to me like it's outdated code that's already been replaced in iOS 12. Therefore, Apple has already complied with all iPhones capable of running iOS 12. 
    If it was "already replaced" why would Apple be saying they'll roll out a China-specific iPhone update very soon which they hope avoids infringing QC property and the sales ban?
    I wasn't able to get anybody on the horn last night, but, from this morning's follow-up:

    Sources inside Apple not authorized to speak on behalf of the company advised to AppleInsider on Friday morning that "We are certain that iOS 12 is non-infringing, but the fix that we will apply early next week will make it more obvious."
    Yes I had seen Apple's claim to that effect somewhere early this morning (maybe here earlier?), but apparently even Apple is not 100% certain the court will be as convinced as they are. Thus a China-specific software update that I personally suspect will remove the offending features entirely at least for now. That's the point I meant to make.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    Meanwhile Samsung and just about all other smart phone makers (including in China) have completely replicated the iPhone and its patents with almost total impunity. Oh and don't forget the long ago Microsoft Windows thing too.
    stompyradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,976member
    gatorguy said:
    rob53 said:
    JFC_PA said:
    Well, if the disputed code is no longer in the phones the issue is moot. Far easier than hardware. 
    "Apple contends the IP does not apply to iPhones running iOS 12" and "resizing photographs and app management on a touch screen" Sounds to me like it's outdated code that's already been replaced in iOS 12. Therefore, Apple has already complied with all iPhones capable of running iOS 12. 
    If it was "already replaced" why would Apple be saying they'll roll out a China-specific iPhone update very soon which they hope avoids infringing QC property and the sales ban?
    You need to read the entire sentence. I said replace in iOS 12 and my understanding is iOS versions less than that haven’t been patched with same fix. Apple says iOS 12 does not infringe. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,818member
    rob53 said:
    gatorguy said:
    rob53 said:
    JFC_PA said:
    Well, if the disputed code is no longer in the phones the issue is moot. Far easier than hardware. 
    "Apple contends the IP does not apply to iPhones running iOS 12" and "resizing photographs and app management on a touch screen" Sounds to me like it's outdated code that's already been replaced in iOS 12. Therefore, Apple has already complied with all iPhones capable of running iOS 12. 
    If it was "already replaced" why would Apple be saying they'll roll out a China-specific iPhone update very soon which they hope avoids infringing QC property and the sales ban?
    You need to read the entire sentence. I said replace in iOS 12 and my understanding is iOS versions less than that haven’t been patched with same fix. Apple says iOS 12 does not infringe. 
    Well of course Apple says that.

    Yet after saying that they're rolling out a Chinese-specific update (I expect to remove the offending functions altogether but that's not even to the level of an educated guess), and covering their bases in case they're called "out" anyway by asking Pegatron how much iPhone manufacturing they could take on. 

    Apple might be right in feeling that iOS12 as it stands is not infringing. I totally 100% agree Apple might be right...
    but apparently that's not as clear and evident as they initially proclaimed since they plan to make a change just for China in hopes it makes this go away.
    If they can convince the Chinese Courts that their software changes made everything all good then that's proof they were right.  On the other hand....

    Everything will be much clearer by the middle of next week if not sooner.
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 15 of 19
    macmarcus said:
    Meanwhile Samsung and just about all other smart phone makers (including in China) have completely replicated the iPhone and its patents with almost total impunity. Oh and don't forget the long ago Microsoft Windows thing too.
    While we're on this little nostalgia kick, let's not forget the Apple stealing windowing and mousing from Xerox thing, too.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    let's not forget the Apple stealing windowing and mousing from Xerox thing, too.
    Apple asked Xerox executives to see their technology, and they agreed.  That isn’t stealing.  Of course, it wasn’t a good idea, but Xerox didn’t know what they had.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    stompystompy Posts: 322member
    tbornot said:
    let's not forget the Apple stealing windowing and mousing from Xerox thing, too.
    Apple asked Xerox executives to see their technology, and they agreed.  That isn’t stealing.  Of course, it wasn’t a good idea, but Xerox didn’t know what they had.

    Apple also compensated Xerox PARC with a pre-IPO Apple stock deal. Stealing? Not even close to that old myth.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 19
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,953member
    bonobob said:
    macmarcus said:
    Meanwhile Samsung and just about all other smart phone makers (including in China) have completely replicated the iPhone and its patents with almost total impunity. Oh and don't forget the long ago Microsoft Windows thing too.
    While we're on this little nostalgia kick, let's not forget the Apple stealing windowing and mousing from Xerox thing, too.
    Nor the Google cloning and owning Java thing when there was a very clear licensing agreement by Sun in place (unlike Xerox).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 19
    stompy said:
    tbornot said:
    let's not forget the Apple stealing windowing and mousing from Xerox thing, too.
    Apple asked Xerox executives to see their technology, and they agreed.  That isn’t stealing.  Of course, it wasn’t a good idea, but Xerox didn’t know what they had.

    Apple also compensated Xerox PARC with a pre-IPO Apple stock deal. Stealing? Not even close to that old myth.
    Exactly! Xerox made an investment in Apple at a sweet price for Xerox. There was ZERO stealing- fact.
    watto_cobra
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