Older iPhones will only use Qualcomm chips in Germany

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Apple plans to ensure that all iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models sold in Germany are powered by modem chips from Qualcomm rather than Intel in a bid to comply with a partial sales ban in the country.

On December 20 last year, a court in Munich found that certain iPhone models infringed Qualcomm’s patents, specifically those relating to power-saving technology.

The court issued an order requiring Apple to stop the sale and importation of the devices in question and to recall affected iPhones from resellers in the country.

Apple Qualcomm

Apple appealed the decision but has conceded the only way to get around the restrictions is to ensure the affected models use Qualcomm technology.

The row forms part of a wide-ranging row between the two companies. Qualcomm has frequently claimed Apple has violated its patents, while Apple says Qualcomm is abusing its dominant position in the market and charging extortionate fees.

Qualcomm’s modem technology has been used in several iterations of the iPhone, but since the iPhone 7, Apple has diversified its supplier base, using Intel chips in some handsets. However, Qualcomm believes its modems have been completely eliminated from the most recent iPhones, a belief that is supported by independent teardowns.

Also in December, a Chinese court banned the import and sale of several older iPhone models in the country after Qualcomm’s request for an injunction was granted.

Qualcomm alleged that the iPhone violates another two of its patents – one relating to photo editing and another to touchscreen application multitasking – and the two patents had previously been found to be valid by SIPO, the Chinese patent office.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.