A legal conflict surrounding the patent for the blood-oxygen sensor in the two latest Apple Watch editions is primarily responsible for the temporary halt, set to partially commence on December 21.
IF YOU ARE PLANNING to purchase the latest Apple Watch for your loved ones as a holiday gift, it is advisable to make the purchase before December 21st for ensured availability.
Apple has revealed
its decision to stop selling the Series 7 and Watch Ultra 2 due to an anticipated ban by the US International Trade Commission. The halt in sales is linked to a patent dispute regarding the technology used in the blood-oxygen sensor of the latest Watch models.
According to 9to5Mac, Apple.com will temporarily halt sales from 3 pm Eastern on December 21. Furthermore, starting on December 24, Apple’s retail locations will no longer have inventory available for purchase. It is important to note that only Apple will be affected by the ban imposed by the ITC. Consequently, smartwatches will still be accessible for purchase through various retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy, at least for the time being. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the proposed ban solely pertains to watch imports into the United States, allowing both models to remain accessible in other countries.
The suspension follows a long-running dispute with the medical tech company Masimo. As Engadget reports, Masimo sued Apple in 2021. The company alleged that Apple had infringed on one of its patents related to light-based blood-oxygen monitoring. A judge ruled that Apple had infringed on the patents, and the ITC upheld that ruling in October. The decision then led to a 60-day presidential review period, which expires on December 25. Apple is taking steps preemptively to comply.
Apple has various strategies to make its wearables available to the public again. In addition to filing an appeal in federal court, the company can explore the option of reaching a settlement with Masimo by disabling the blood-oxygen sensing features. Once the review period ends on December 25, more details regarding the future prospects of Watch 9 and Ultra 2 will be disclosed.
It is quite extraordinary to witness a situation where a corporate giant like Apple, the creator of the world’s top-selling watches, manages to successfully block the sales of a competitor by alleging patent infringement. This is particularly remarkable considering that many smartwatches tend to resemble one another and offer similar features. In 2016, Fitbit made an attempt to block the import of Jawbone products based on patent infringement, but ultimately dropped the lawsuit upon realizing that Jawbone’s sales of fitness trackers were quite insignificant.
The ruling has no impact on the Watch SE since it doesn’t come with blood-tracking sensors. In our comprehensive guide to the Best Apple Watches, we consider the Watch SE to be the top choice for those looking for an affordable entry-level option. It’s important to note that the ban doesn’t apply to any models prior to the Series 9. Apple only introduced the blood-monitoring features with the Watch Series 6 in 2020, so both the Series 7 and Series 8 will still remain available.