The future of Apple Watches just got a little less smart in the US. The tech giant announced it will suspend sales of its newest models, the Series 9 and Ultra 2, due to a patent infringement ruling. This unexpected move throws a wrench in the holiday season for both Apple and eager consumers.
Patent Woes Bite at Apple’s Wrist: The International Trade Commission (ITC) found Apple violated patents held by medical technology company Masimo, specifically relating to blood oxygen level readings on the Watch. This feature, a major selling point for health-conscious consumers, is now off-limits for US sales.
Impact Beyond the Holidays: The sales halt takes effect December 21st online and December 24th in physical stores, disrupting the busy holiday shopping period. While other Watch models, like the SE, remain unaffected, the loss of the top-tier Series 9 and Ultra 2 will undoubtedly sting.
Future Uncertain: The ruling is currently under review by President Biden, with a decision expected by Christmas. If upheld, Apple faces a potential import ban on the infringing models, leaving the company scrambling for solutions.
What This Means for You: If you’re in the US and eyeing a new Apple Watch, you’ll need to act fast. Existing inventory may still be available in stores and online, but once it’s gone, getting your hands on a Series 9 or Ultra 2 could be tricky.
Looking Ahead: This patent dispute throws a curveball at Apple’s smartwatch dominance. While the company’s future in the US market remains uncertain, it’s unlikely to relinquish its leadership position easily. Expect potential design changes, software updates, or even negotiations with Masimo to bring the infringing models back to US wrists.
This isn’t just about Apple, it’s a reminder of the complex world of tech patents and their impact on innovation and consumer choice. As more and more devices integrate health features, similar legal battles are likely to unfold.
Stay tuned for updates on this evolving story, and remember, time is ticking if you want that latest Apple Watch before it’s off the market!