It's not totally unexpected. The companies had been pressured U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California, to meet for court-moderated settlement talks. Apple and Samsung agreed to this in mid-April, with the meeting made at the level of CEOs and their top lawyers, with Koh wanting the meeting to occur within 90 days.
A separate judge will oversee the settlement meetings, Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero. The talks will begin each day at 9:30 a.m. PDT, in a San Francisco courthouse, while the litigation itself continues to be held before a San Jose division of the court.
The companies have been at loggerheads for about a year, beginning in April of 2011. According to Foss Patents' Florian Mueller, the dispute now encompasses some 50 lawsuits across 10 countries.
It seems unlikely that two days will be enough to reach a settlement for something so complex, convoluted, and contentious. Still, the possibility exists that Apple and Samsung may be able to at least start down the path of settlement.