Apple is no longer permitted to sell its most recent watches in the US


President Joe Biden’s administration declined to veto the order, which prevented Apple from selling the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 in the US. However, on December 27, a federal appeals court temporarily halted the prohibition, enabling Apple to resume sales of the devices in its shops and on

Apple took both smartphones off from its website on December 21 and from its retail shelves on December 24. A statement from the Office of US Trade Representative Katherine Tai received by CNBC said that the agency “decided not to reverse the ITC’s [International Trade Commission] determination” after “careful consideration.”

Apple said in a statement obtained by Reuters that it is appealing the ITC ruling and that it is “taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.” The spokesperson did not identify themselves.

The ITC issued the ban after finding that Apple had infringed upon a blood oxygen saturation technology patent held by a company called Masimo. It also required Apple to stop selling any previously imported devices that were infringing on third-party patents. While it awaited an appeal, Apple attempted to get the decision overturned; however, the ITC denied the company’s request, and the only alternative avenue for intervention—President Joe Biden’s veto—was never exercised.

The ban only applies to Apple stores in the United States. As long as supplies lasted, shoppers may still purchase a Watch Series 9 or Watch Ultra 2 at Best Buy, Target, and other stores. Since the Watch SE is devoid of a blood oxygen sensor, Apple will also keep selling it.

It’s still unclear where Apple will go after this

 Victoria Song, my colleague, investigates the several approaches Apple may take, such as modifying the blood oxygen sensor software on both watches or turning off the sensor on devices that are imported. However, the ITC may not be satisfied with either of those approaches, thus Apple may decide to settle with Masimo instead.

A new Apple Watch is still available, but don’t wait around for too long

At now, the prohibited gadgets comprise not only the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, but also all Ultra line models and Series 6 through 8. This is so because every single one of these gadgets has the patent-protected pulse oximeter feature. The Apple Watch SE is the only more recent model that is completely untouched by the restriction and is still easily accessible at all outlets.

In a statement obtained by CNN before the deadline, an Apple representative stated that the company “strongly disagrees with the order” and “is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to consumers.” The representative also added that the company will be “taking all means” to restore the flow of Apple Watch devices.

Apple’s main goal now that the ban has been formally implemented is to figure out how to change the Apple Watches—either in terms of software or hardware—so that they no longer infringe on Masimo’s patent. The length of this procedure and the likelihood that the International Trade Commission will approve Apple’s suggested changes are unknown.

The major exemption to the sales prohibition is the Apple Watch SE.

The Apple Watch SE 2 is a contemporary model that has completely circumvented the temporary prohibition on sales of the Apple Watch Ultra models, the new Series 9, and a few previous watch generations in the United States. Why? Due to various technological constraints, this wearable is available at a lower price point ($249) than the Series 9 and Ultra models because it is the “budget” tier version of Apple’s wearable.

The blood oxygen sensor is one of those hardware sacrifices because the Apple Watch SE 2 isn’t equipped with it. The infringement software side of the issue is irrelevant to the less expensive option without the physical component. Regardless of how long the sales embargo remains in effect, consumers in the United States will still be able to acquire new Apple Watch SE 2 devices.

If you absolutely must have the blood oxygen sensor feature, don’t panic just yet. Used Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models will undoubtedly remain plentiful for many months (though with the unfortunate side effect of price gouging), and third-party retailers like Best Buy are still able to sell their current new inventory. Naturally, blood oxygen sensors are another typical feature of Wear OS smartwatches, so if you’re not tied to Apple’s ecosystem, have a look at something like the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.

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