In a significant development for Apple Watch enthusiasts, Apple has ceased online sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the United States. This move comes just before the enforcement of an import ban on these models. Customers seeking to purchase the Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 online are now greeted with a “currently unavailable” status. Additionally, Apple has removed its refurbished Series 7 and Series 8 models from its website.
ITC Ruling Impact on Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2
This sales suspension follows Apple’s recent statement about needing to comply with an International Trade Commission (ITC) order. The order prevents the import of components related to the blood oxygen monitoring feature, a key technology in these models. The ITC’s decision, which found that the Apple Watch’s blood oxygen sensor infringes patents held by Masimo, a medical device firm, has triggered this pause in sales.
Physical Retail Availability of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2
Although the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are unavailable online, they can still be purchased from Apple’s physical retail stores until December 24. Post this date, sales will be halted in the United States, exclusively at Apple’s retail locations. However, third-party retailers like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy will continue selling the Apple Watch until their existing stock depletes. The Apple Watch SE, lacking the blood oxygen sensor, remains unaffected by this ban and available for sale.
Potential White House Intervention
Apple is waiting to see if the White House will veto the import ban, with a deadline of December 25 to review and make a decision. Should the veto not occur, Apple will be restricted from selling these models until they remove the contested technology.
Apple’s Response to the Ban on Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2
The company is planning an appeal on December 26 and is exploring various legal and technical avenues to resume sales as soon as possible. Apple is hopeful that a software update, which would alter the oxygen saturation measurement and data presentation, might resolve the issue. Efforts are underway to present a workaround to US Customs in hopes of lifting the ban. However, the challenge lies in the fact that the disputed patents are related to hardware, making it uncertain whether a software fix alone will be sufficient.