Apple Halts Sales of Latest Smartwatches Amidst Import Ban

Apple Halts Sales of Latest Smartwatches Amidst Import Ban | The Enterprise World

(Source – The Wall Street Journal)

Apple has ceased the sale of its most recent flagship smartwatches, the Apple Halts Sales of Latest Smartwatch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, on its official online store. This move comes in anticipation of an impending import ban by the US International Trade Commission (ITC), set to come into full effect on December 26th. Notably, both of these sought-after devices will no longer be available at Apple’s physical stores after December 24th.

The basis for this ban stems from an ongoing patent dispute between Apple and medical device manufacturer Masimo. The ITC has rendered a verdict asserting that the SpO2 sensor incorporated in Apple halts sales of smartwatches infringes upon Masimo’s patents. Despite Apple’s plea to postpone the ban pending an appeal, the ITC rejected the motion on Wednesday.

A consistent feature in every flagship Apple Halts Sales smartwatch 

Given that the patent conflict centers around the SpO2 sensor specifically, Apple halts sales and remains able to continue the sale of its more budget-friendly Apple Watch SE, which lacks this particular sensor. The SpO2 feature debuted with the Apple Watch Series 6 in 2020 and has been a consistent feature in every flagship Apple smartwatch since then. Furthermore, Apple has also removed refurbished versions of two prior models, the Series 7 and Series 8, both equipped with SpO2 sensors, from its online inventory. Special editions of the Series 9, including the Apple Watch Nike and Apple Watch Hermès, have likewise been taken off the market.

It is essential to note that the ITC ban solely impacts Apple’s own sales channels, sparing other retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy until their existing inventories are depleted. Additionally, the ban exclusively affects watch sales within the United States, with no repercussions for other global regions.

Strong disagreement with the decision and affirming

The duration of the ban remains uncertain. Reports from Bloomberg suggest that the Apple Music App is currently working to modify the software of the affected devices to circumvent infringement on Masimo’s patents. However, Masimo contends that the patents in question are hardware-related, implying that software adjustments may not suffice. If hardware alterations are necessary, it could take a minimum of three months for Apple to rectify the issue, involving the production and shipment of updated watches.

An alternative resolution could be a settlement between Apple and Masimo. Joe Kiani, Masimo’s CEO, has expressed openness to such an arrangement, but as of December 19th, communication from Apple has yet to be received. In response to the ITC’s ruling, Apple’s spokesperson Nikki Rothberg issued a statement on Monday, emphasizing the company’s strong disagreement with the decision and affirming its pursuit of a spectrum of legal and technical options to ensure the continued availability of Apple Halts Sales Watch to its customers.

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