Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 Ban: The Latest Updates

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The Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 are back on sale in the US after a temporary ban due to a patent dispute with health tech company Masimo. In this article, we’ll dive into the latest updates on the ban, the ongoing legal battle, and the impact on consumers.Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Ultra 2: don't make a mistake | Digital Trends

 

Background of the Ban

 

The ban on Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 sales in the US was a result of a legal dispute between Apple and Masimo over the blood oxygen detection feature. Masimo accused Apple of infringing on its pulse oximeter patents, leading to a ruling in favor of Masimo by a US judge in January. The ruling stated that Apple had infringed on Masimo patents related to the technology used in its blood oxygen sensing system.

 

The US International Trade Commission’s Order

 

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) issued an order that would prohibit Apple from importing and selling the Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches in the US. This order was under presidential review until December 25th, and on December 26th, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai decided not to reverse the ITC’s decision, making the ban final.

 

Apple’s Response and Temporary Win

 

Apple strongly disagreed with the ITC’s decision and took immediate action to appeal the ban. On Wednesday, Apple received a temporary win when an Appeals Court paused the ban, allowing Apple to resume selling the devices on Thursday. Apple expects the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to hear its motion for a stay on the ban as early as January 15th, which would allow sales to continue throughout the appeal process.

 

Changes to Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2

 

To ensure the availability of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches, Apple is working on changes to the devices. In a statement, Apple mentioned that the company is vigorously pursuing legal and technical options to provide consumers with the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2. They have also submitted a proposed redesigned version of both watches for US Customs approval. Bloomberg reports that Apple has been working on software changes to the blood oxygen detection feature, and a decision on these updates is expected on January 12th.

 

Impact on Apple and the Wearables Market

 

The Apple Watch is a crucial product for Apple and has contributed significantly to the success of its wearables, home, and accessories business. The wearables unit alone is equivalent to a Fortune 150 company. The ban on the Series 9 and Ultra 2 sales came at a time when smartwatches were in high demand, with holiday shopping data from Adobe showing them to be among the top products sold during the Black Friday period.

 

Availability of Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2

 

During the ban period, Apple paused online sales of the affected watches on December 21st and halted in-store sales on December 24th. However, the ban only applied to sales through Apple in the US. The Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 remained available through other retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, and Target. These retailers confirmed that they would continue to sell the watches, ensuring that consumers could still purchase them.

 

Alternatives for Consumers

 

If you’re unable to buy the Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2, there are alternatives to consider. The Apple Watch SE is a lower-end model that doesn’t include the blood oxygen detection feature but still offers activity tracking and notifications for heart rate irregularities. For those looking beyond Apple’s ecosystem, options like the Fitbit Versa 4 and Garmin Venu 3 are compatible with both iPhone and Android devices. Additionally, standalone pulse oximeters can be purchased for home blood oxygen monitoring.

 

Masimo and the Lawsuit

 

Masimo, the health tech company that accused Apple of patent infringement, offers a range of medical technology products, including the Masimo W1 smartwatch. The ITC order is a significant development in the ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Masimo. Masimo CEO Joe Kiani expressed optimism about the ban, stating that he believes it will help restore fairness in the market.Apple Watch Series 9 release date, price, display, double tap gesture and  more | Tom's Guide

 

What’s Next for Apple?

 

Apple is actively pursuing legal and technical options to lift the ban on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 sales permanently. The company is waiting for the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to hear its motion for a stay on the ban, which would allow sales to continue during the appeal process. Apple has also proposed a redesign to avoid further patent infringement, and the proposed changes are currently under review by the customs office.Apple Watch Series 9: Should You Buy? Reviews, Features, Comparisons and  More

 

Conclusion

 

The ban on Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 sales in the US due to a patent dispute with Masimo led to a temporary halt in sales. However, Apple has successfully obtained a temporary win, allowing resumption of sales while the appeal process continues. The ongoing legal battle highlights the importance of intellectual property rights in the tech industry. As consumers, there are alternative options available, ensuring that blood oxygen monitoring and other health features can still be accessed through various smartwatches and standalone devices. Apple’s determination to resolve the dispute and deliver innovative products remains strong, and the outcome of the appeal will determine the future availability of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches for consumers.

 

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