The Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 aren’t exactly “banned” in the traditional sense, but it’s complicated!
Apple has stopped selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in its online store in the United States, with the devices pulled from sale just days ahead of when an Apple Watch import ban goes into effect.
A medical technology company called Masimo claimed that Apple infringed on two of their patents related to blood oxygen sensor technology used in the Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches.
In October 2023, the International Trade Commission (ITC) sided with Masimo. This meant that Apple could no longer import these Watch models into the US.
Apple removed the Series 9 and Ultra 2 from their online store and physical stores in the US. They’re also appealing the ITC’s decision and pursuing potential software adjustments to avoid patent infringement.
Impact on Consumers:
- Existing owners: No worries, your Watch will still work and receive updates as usual. You can also get it repaired or replaced under warranty.
- Potential buyers: You can’t buy the Series 9 or Ultra 2 new from Apple in the US at the moment. However, some retailers might still have stock, and the watches are still available internationally.
It’s unclear how long the ban will last. Apple could potentially win their appeal, negotiate a licensing agreement with Masimo, or develop a software workaround.
Apple is planning to appeal as soon as it can on December 26, and the company said it is “pursuing a range of legal and technical options” to get the Apple Watch models back on store shelves as soon as possible.
Apple believes a software fix could alleviate the issue, and engineers are working on changes to determine oxygen saturation and provide the data to customers.
Apple said it is working on a “workaround” with US Customs to lift the ban. However, it’s unclear whether a software fix would be enough because the patents relate to hardware.