If you celebrated Christmas in 2023 and unwrapped one of the latest Apple Watch models as one of your expensive tech gifts, consider yourself lucky. As of late December 2023, they might not be so easy to find anymore. A ban by the United States government will effectively halt the sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models for the foreseeable future. Here's what you should know about the ban and what Apple is doing to combat the decision.
New Apple Watch models have been banned from being sold in the United States.
Following the release of the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 in September, a medical monitoring technology company called Masimo claimed that the pulse reader technology in both watches infringes on similar pulse-oximeter technology in their own devices. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) ultimately ruled in favor of Masimo and issued a ban on Apple's latest watches from Apple stores in the United States.
Following the decision, Apple reportedly removed the devices in question from its website and from Apple store shelves starting on Dec. 21, 2023.
That said, the tech company is working to appeal the ban in court. In a statement published by Reuters, an Apple spokesperson stated, "We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting exclusion order and are taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the US as soon as possible."
Apple previously attempted to halt the ban as they waited for an appeal, but their ITC denied the request and pushed forward with their restrictions.
This decision affects all Apple stores in the United States and would require a presidential veto to be overturned. That said, these models will still be available through other retailers like Amazon, Target, Best Buy, and Walmart while supplies last. As of this writing, however, it is unknown how stocks for the Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches at these stores will be affected once they run out. Additionally, the ban does not affect the Apple Watch SE.
Analysts on The Verge suggest that the tech company could make software changes to their smartwatch blood oxygen tech to curtail infringement moving forward. Otherwise, they may ultimately have to reach a settlement with Masimo to avoid further litigation.
Keep reading Distractify for the latest on this news as it develops.