Why the ITC’s ban on Apple importing the iPhone and iPad doesn’t matter

U.S. agency: Apple infringes Samsung patent on older iPhones, iPads:

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled on Tuesday that the Silicon Valley giant had infringed on a patent owned by Samsung that involves the ability of devices to transmit multiple services simultaneously and correctly through 3G wireless technology.

The independent federal agency slapped a ban on the import or sale of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G distributed by AT&T, the biggest seller of Apple devices in the United States when Samsung filed its complaint in 2011. The products are assembled in Asia.

U.S. President Barack Obama has 60 days to review the ruling. If he does not veto the order, it will go into effect.

60 days from now, we’ll probably be about two months away from the release of the next iPhone. Assuming that there isn’t a lower-cost iPhone introduced as well, we can assume that in September or October:

  • The iPhone 5S will become the new $199 flagship model.
  • The iPhone 5 will move down to the mid-range $99 position.
  • The iPhone 4S will become the new “free on contract” model.

So the iPhone 4 is either not going to be a factor or will be $300 or so off-contract. Meanwhile, the iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G, and iPad 2 3G models are already irrelevant. Even without Apple appealing the decision (which it will on principle alone), this ruling will cause *literally* zero damage to Apple’s bottom line. But hey, at least it makes a good headline for news sites:

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