A few days after a Chinese court banned the sales and import of iPhone sales granting Qualcomm an injunction against Apple, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker has made a tiny change to its iOS to avoid the ban. Chip-maker Qualcomm claimed that Apple violated two of its patents.
Apple released a small update to iOS 12.1.2 that contains software changes exclusive to China. The update changes the animation when an app is forced to close, avoiding a Qualcomm patent around app management. Now, rather than moving up and off the screen, apps now appear to shrink into themselves when swiped closed.
“iOS 12.1.2 includes bugs fixes with eSIM activation for iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. Addresses an issue that could affect cellular connectivity in Turkey for iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. Introduces a new animation when force closing apps and updates share sheet for setting contact and wallpaper images,” Apple said in its release notes.
The update is rolled out for iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X and does not cover the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus or iPhone XR, which were not yet launched when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit.
For Apple, China is one of the largest production base for most iPhones, iPad and Mac. Earlier Apple warned that the ban would hurt manufacturers like Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. -- known also as Foxconn -- and other suppliers.
Apple has also filed a request for consideration, arguing that the ban would harm China’s interests by potentially raising the royalties and fees that phone makers pay Qualcomm.
“Apple and many other companies, consumers, and government will suffer truly irreparable harm. The Chinese government ‘may suffer hundreds of thousands of tax losses’ from the iPhone ban because of lost taxes from sales of the devices, it said, citing estimates of 50 million units sold in the country in 2017,” Apple said in a filing.
And similar to Apple claims, other Chinese smartphone makers had argued that Qualcomm owns larger number of patents essential to modern wireless communications -- is abusing its position and charging high fees.