Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 Disappear from US Online Stores as Sales Ban Looms

Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 Disappear from US Online Stores as Sales Ban Looms

In a shock to tech enthusiasts and holiday shoppers alike, Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models have vanished from online stores across the United States.

As of December 21st, 2023, both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 have vanished from online stores across the United States, leaving many wondering what happened and how it affects their holiday plans. The abrupt move follows a patent infringement ruling against Apple by the International Trade Commission (ITC), effectively banning the sale of these smartwatches within the country.

Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 Disappear from US Online Stores as Sales Ban Looms

This sudden withdrawal leaves many scrambling to understand what just happened, and what it means for their holiday plans. Let’s delve into the details of this unexpected turn of events, exploring the reasons behind the ban, the potential impact on consumers, and what alternatives might be available.

Patent Dispute at the Heart of the Ban

The root cause of Apple’s withdrawal lies in a legal battle with Masimo, a medical technology company. Masimo claimed that the blood oxygen sensor technology used in the Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 infringed upon two of their own patents.

Following an October ruling by the ITC, which upheld Masimo’s claims, the US government was granted the authority to block the import and sale of these infringing devices.

Apple Chooses Preemptive Withdrawal

In response to the impending ban, Apple decided to proactively remove the affected models from their online stores. This preemptive withdrawal, effective December 21st, applies to both Apple’s official website and online retailers throughout the US.

While this move doesn’t circumvent the ban itself, it allows Apple to minimize disruption and avoid potential legal complications.

Impact on Consumers – What Are My Options?

If you were hoping to snag a brand new Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2 for the holidays, you’re unfortunately out of luck for now. However, a few options remain:

  • Consider alternative Apple Watch models: The older Watch Series 8 and SE models are still available for purchase, albeit without the latest blood oxygen monitoring features.
  • Look for authorized resellers: While Apple’s direct channels are closed, some authorized resellers may still have leftover stock of the banned models. However, due to limited availability, expect inflated prices.
  • Explore other smartwatch options: Several competitors like Samsung and Fitbit offer smartwatches with similar functionalities. While they may not be from Apple, these alternatives can still provide a satisfactory smartwatch experience.
  • Patience is a virtue: The legal battle is ongoing, and Apple is actively appealing the ITC ruling. If their appeal is successful, the ban could be lifted and the watches may return to stores. Patience might be the key if you’re set on having one of these specific models.

The Road Ahead – Uncertainties and Implications

The implications of this ban extend beyond disappointed consumers. This episode raises questions about intellectual property rights, innovation within the tech industry, and the potential impact on future Apple products.

As the legal saga unfolds, the tech world and consumers alike watch with bated breath, eager to see how this story ultimately concludes.

While the current situation surrounding the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 is undoubtedly frustrating, it’s important to remember that the holiday season isn’t canceled. Numerous alternative smartwatches and tech gadgets await your exploration.

This unexpected turn of events might even push you to discover hidden gems you wouldn’t have considered before.

What Exactly Happened?

  • The Patent Dispute: Masimo, a company specializing in pulse oximetry technology, claimed that Apple’s blood oxygen sensor in the Series 9 and Ultra 2 infringed on their patented technology.
  • The ITC Ruling: In October 2023, the ITC sided with Masimo, issuing an import ban on the infringing models and prohibiting Apple from selling them in the US.
  • Apple’s Response: To comply with the potential ban, Apple opted to proactively remove the Series 9 and Ultra 2 from online stores ahead of the official implementation date.

Can I Still Get an Apple Watch in the US?

  • Yes, but not the Series 9 or Ultra 2: The ban only applies to the specific models that infringed on Masimo’s patents. Older Apple Watch models like the Series 8, SE, and earlier versions are still available for purchase.
  • Limited Options: With the Series 9 and Ultra 2 out of the picture, your choices are narrowed down within the US market. Consider alternative models or wait for potential future developments.
  • Third-Party Retailers: While Apple’s own stores and online platforms won’t sell the banned models, some third-party retailers might still have existing stock. However, be aware of potential price hikes and limited availability.

What Happens Next?

  • Appealing the Ruling: Apple has the option to appeal the ITC’s ruling, potentially delaying the ban’s implementation. This could lead to a lengthy legal process with uncertain outcomes.
  • Design Changes: Apple might introduce design changes to the Series 9 and Ultra 2 to circumvent the patent infringement. This would require further regulatory approvals and could delay their return to the market.
  • New Models: In the long term, Apple might develop new Watch models with entirely different blood oxygen sensor technology, potentially bypassing the current patent issues.

Stay informed, explore your options, and keep your tech spirit alive – there’s always something exciting waiting to be discovered in the world of technology.

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