In response to an ongoing legal dispute with health tech company Masimo, Apple has temporarily ceased online sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the US. The pause, effective until December 24, is a precautionary measure following a US International Trade Commission (USITC) order prohibiting Apple from importing these models due to patent infringement claims related to blood oxygen sensing technology.
Despite the pause in online sales, Apple will continue to offer the Series 9 and Ultra 2 in retail stores. The USITC’s decision is currently under presidential review, and Apple is proactively taking steps to ensure the availability of these models to customers, expressing disagreement with the order.
The Apple Watch, a cornerstone of Apple’s wearables, home, and accessories business, plays a pivotal role in the company’s product lineup. Apple remains dedicated to providing users with innovative health, wellness, and safety features.
Impact on Sales and Alternatives
The temporary sales halt coincides with the crucial holiday shopping season, where smartwatches, including Apple Watch models, are popular choices. Apple’s wearables unit, comparable to a Fortune 150 company, emphasizes the device’s significance.
Affected models, the Series 9 and Ultra 2, may still be available through other retailers, as the USITC order pertains specifically to sales through Apple. Major retailers like Best Buy and Walmart have confirmed their intent to continue selling these models.
For consumers seeking alternatives, the Apple Watch SE remains unaffected and is positioned as an attractive option within Apple’s ecosystem. Additionally, other smartwatches compatible with both iPhone and Android, such as the Fitbit Versa 4 and Garmin Venu 3, provide viable alternatives.
Legal Developments and Future Outlook
Masimo, a medical technology company, initiated the legal dispute, accusing Apple of infringing on pulse oximeter patents. The USITC order, subject to a presidential review, concludes on December 25. Apple plans to appeal the decision to the federal circuit.
The potential veto of the USITC decision is rare but not unprecedented, as seen in a 2013 case involving Apple and Samsung patents. Apple is reportedly working on a software change to address the blood oxygen monitoring issue. However, consumers are advised to await the conclusion of the presidential review process before considering alternatives.
In summary, while Apple navigates legal challenges, users are encouraged to explore alternative smartwatch options, bearing in mind the evolving situation surrounding the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2.