Apple Announces Suspension of Sales for Select Apple Watches in the United States


It could happen this week that Apple stops selling some models of the Apple Watch in the US. This is to avoid what could be one of the most important patent battles in years.

The company told CNN that it will no longer sell the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 after December 24. The sales will stop on Thursday on and in stores.

It took one of its most famous products off the shelf because of a disagreement with Masimo, a company that makes medical devices, about its blood oxygen feature. Apple has consistently marketed its smartwatch as a gadget that can save lives. This has helped the Apple Watch soar to immense popularity, making it the most sought-after watch sold all over the world. But its fight with Masimo could make that less likely.

The US International Trade Commission said in October that Apple had broken Masimo’s pulse oximeter patent, which means they didn’t follow the rules for using light-based technology to check blood oxygen levels. Before the ban could happen, President Biden has 60 days to look over the law again.

The review period doesn’t end until December 25, but Apple is already taking steps to follow the decision, the company said in a statement.

“Apple strongly disagrees with the order and is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to make sure that customers can get the Apple Watch,” it said.

If the order stays in place, the company said it would “continue to take all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.”

You will still be able to buy other models, but Apple Watch Series 6 and later models and all Apple Watch Ultra models imported after the end of a review time would be banned. Apple says it won’t have an effect on sales of the Apple Watch SE, though.

In September, Apple released the Series 9 phone. It has a special S9 chip that makes processing faster and lets you control the watch with your hands, in part because it has a better neural engine that processes data from sensors and machine learning.

Apple said it is sure that the ITC’s decisions are wrong and should be overturned. Another place it plans to go is the Federal Circuit with the ruling.

Apple also stated that it had sent proof that a ban would have bad effects on medical and scientific study, as well as Apple Watch users who depend on the ECG, blood oxygen, and other health-related features.

Joe Kiani, CEO of Masimo, told CNN that he thinks the move to stop selling the devices is the latest round in the ongoing patent battle.

Kiani said, “This has been a deliberate infringement.” He called the sales stop a way to put pressure on Biden.

Apple hasn’t tried to settle with Masimo yet, but Kiani said he’s willing to.

There have been disagreements between the companies for a long time. When Apple sued Masimo twice for patent infringement in October 2022, they said the company copied protected Apple Watch features into their Masimo’s W1 medical smartwatch.

How it affects sales

ABI Research director David McQueen said that the choice to keep the watches on sale in stores until December 24 should help lessen the financial impact of the delay. This will give shoppers a few more days to buy the devices before Christmas.

He said, “Apple is the market leader with about a 24% share, but it might not have a big effect on its business if it can boost sales in these last few days, considering there is stock available.” “It might be able to make it through the holidays without too many sales being affected.”

In 2022, Apple sold 49 million smartwatches. In the first nine months of 2023, they sold about 26.7 million.

It will be interesting to see how long the argument lasts, when Apple opens its wallet, and when the ban ends, he said.

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