Throughout 2017 Apple and Qualcomm have been locked in a fierce legal battle, and the latest twist is that Apple has filed a countersuit against Qualcomm for patent violation. Apple says that Qualcomm violated about eight patents regarding battery life that it holds.
The patents let iPhones use only the minimum power needed to work, and causes parts of the processor to turn off when they aren’t being used.
The irony about this countersuit is that Qualcomm claims that Apple “chose not to utilize the full performance of Qualcomm’s modem chips in its iPhone 7,” and “misrepresented the performance disparity between iPhones using Qualcomm modems and those using competitor-supplied modems.”
Basically, Apple says that Qualcomm’s chips infringe on Apple’s battery life patents. And Qualcomm says that Apple is infringing Qualcomm’s battery life patents. Apple’s countersuit specifically mentions Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 and Snapdragon 820 processors. These chips also power Google and Samsung phones, but these companies aren’t part of Apple’s filing.
For the iPhone 7, Apple has partnered more closely with Intel, and it’s likely that unless this dispute is resolved, Apple may move away from Qualcomm altogether, and use a combination of Intel chips and Apple’s in-house chips.