Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 not available in US stores. What happens now?

Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 are not available for sale in the US. A suspension that had never happened before and that somehow could mean a lot for Apple, especially since it happens in the period close to Christmas. What will happen now? Let's see.

December 21 marked a significant day for Apple in the United States, with the halt of sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra of the second generation. This move was made necessary following the decision of the International Trade Commission (ITC) in response to a patent dispute with Masimo, a manufacturer of medical devices, regarding the sensor that monitors blood oxygen levels. The ITC's decision made the two models of Apple Watch no longer available on the US online Apple Store from December 21, and from December 24 also in physical stores in the United States.

Apple: what will be the countermove?

Apple had tried to obtain an extension of the sales block, but this request was rejected by the ITC. Currently, the ITC has blocked the sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States, but President Biden could intervene to veto the import ban. However, these actions are rare, and the outcome remains uncertain.

In the meantime, Apple is working on a software update that will use a different algorithm to measure blood oxygen levels, hoping to resume the sale of the affected smartwatches. The change of algorithms is aimed at ensuring that the user can still check and accurately display blood oxygen levels through the Apple Watch. However, Masimo has already stated that they will not accept software changes and that their challenge also concerns the hardware, that is, the sensor itself. In fact, Apple seems convinced that the only change to the algorithms can resolve the dispute. Disputes of this kind are rare and usually resolved with agreements before reaching the ban. However, Apple seems to be confident of the validity of the software changes and has also requested an evaluation of the alleged Masimo patents, believing that the arguments of the medical technology company are unfounded.

Although many analysts agree that the short-term financial impact will be limited, as the Apple Watches represent a relatively small fraction of Apple's total revenue, the situation remains complex. Estimates indicate that, for the fiscal year just ended, the Apple Watches contributed with about 17 billion dollars, out of a total of over 383 billion.

Apple has stressed that the ITC's decision will harm suppliers and consumers, challenging the Commission's decision and declaring itself ready to fight legally. In the meantime, the Cupertino company has been forced to comply with the precautionary measure by withdrawing its Apple Watches from sale in the US. It should be noted that the import ban will also affect the assistance services, as Apple will not be able to offer replacement watches and the repair of the two models of Apple Watch involved is temporarily suspended.


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