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Apple Watch ban paused: You can still buy Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 for now

A court order has given Apple a two-week extension to continue selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Apple Watch ban paused: You can still buy Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 for now
Apple Watch Ultra 2

On Wednesday, December 27, Apple won a court order to pause the Apple Watch ban that went into effect on Tuesday, December 26, 2023. 

Per The Verge, “a US federal appeal court ordered a halt on the import and sales bans today [Wednesday, December 27], after Apple requested that they be paused at least until US Customs can determine if changes it’s making to the Apple Watch would be enough to avoid the patent dispute that led to the ban.” US Customs is expected to issue its decision on January 12, 2024.

This court order has given Apple an extra two weeks – pending the decision of the US customs  – to continue selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. 

Apple pulled both devices from its website on December 21 and from its store shelves after December 24, as the ban went into effect. Customers could still get their hands on a Watch Series 9 or Watch Ultra 2 at Best Buy, Target, and other retailers while supplies last.  The ban was handed down by the US International Trade Commission, which ruled in October that Apple infringed on patents for pulse oximetry tech made by Masimo, a medical device maker.

While only two watch models were affected by the ban the affected Apple watches which come with a pulse oximeter feature that reads blood-oxygen levels include every Apple watch since its 2020 Series 6 model. Tracking blood oxygen helps detect breathing issues early, manage chronic heart or lung conditions effectively, and optimize fitness training or adjust to high altitudes. It became more important at the height of the Covid pandemic when doctors said that a reading under 95% could suggest a person is struggling to breathe due to the virus.

The patent infringement dispute which was first filed in 2021 by Masimo has been a long time coming. While Apple has its engineers racing to modify the software algorithms and its blood-oxygen app, it’s yet to be seen whether those tweaks are sufficient to allow the smartwatches back on the market.

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