Apple Watch Ban: What You Need to Know

Unpacking the Apple Watch Ban: Learn about the patent clash with Masimo, the affected models, potential workarounds, and the impending sales and repair restrictions.

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Apple Watch Ban: Everything You Need to Know

Apple Watch Ban: Everything You Need to Know

The U.S. International Trade Commission's import ban on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models is set to go into effect on December 26th, after Apple's attempts to delay it were denied. This means the latest Apple Watch models with the blood oxygen sensor will no longer be sold in the U.S.

Why is the Apple Watch banned?

Apple reveals Apple Watch Series 7, featuring the largest, most advanced  display - Apple (IN)

The ban stems from a patent dispute between Apple and medical device maker Masimo, which claims Apple's SpO2 blood oxygen sensor infringes on its patents. In October, the ITC ruled in favor of Masimo and instituted an import ban, as first reported by 9to5Mac.

Apple strongly disagrees with the ruling and has been pursuing appeals, but its request to delay the ban was denied on December 21st according to reporting by The Verge.

As Bloomberg reported, Apple has now stopped selling the Series 9 and Ultra 2 both online and in its U.S. retail stores ahead of the ban taking effect on December 26th. The company will also no longer repair out-of-warranty models going back to the Series 6 under the terms of the ban.

What models are affected?

Only the Series 9 and Ultra 2 models, which feature the SpO2 sensor, are impacted by the ban. Earlier models and the more affordable SE without the sensor can still be purchased normally for now. But the repair ban extends back to the Series 6, 7, and 8 models which also have the SpO2 sensor.

Are there any workarounds?

Apple is reportedly working on potential software changes to the oxygen sensor to avoid the ban, according to Bloomberg. It also holds out hope President Biden could veto the ban, though experts say this is unlikely. For now, the sales and repair ban will take effect December 26th as ordered.

What about other retailers?

The import ban only applies directly to Apple. Other retailers like Best Buy can continue selling existing stock until it runs out. But Apple is barred from importing or repairing affected models until the ban is lifted.

The patent dispute between Apple and Masimo continues to unfold. For now, consumers interested in the latest Apple Watch models should act soon before the sweeping ban takes hold on December 26th. Apple is working to find a solution, but resolving this complex legal battle may take significant time.

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