The Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 Ban Is Back On

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Apple said in a statement that it “strongly opposes” the US International Trade Commission’s decision, but is taking steps to comply with the ban.

Starting Thursday morning, new versions of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 without the blood oxygen sensor will be available for sale on Apple’s website and at Apple’s retail stores in the US.

The company also says that watch models equipped with the sensor already purchased will not be affected.

Newer Apple Watch models should take another wait time.

Apple must stop selling the current version of the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 by the end of Thursday, according to a federal court ruling.

In late 2023, the US International Trade Commission banned Apple from selling the two wearable devices due to a dispute over a patent for the technology Apple uses in the watches’ blood oxygen sensor.

Apple appealed that ruling and was granted a temporary stay of the ban while the court reviewed the case.

But on Wednesday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit declined to extend the suspension further, forcing Apple to stop selling the two Watch models in question and putting the company on a long path to filing a formal appeal.

The ban will go back into effect at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, January 18.

The ITC initially banned sales of the watch over a patent dispute brought by medical technology company Masimo, which sued Apple in 2021.

The company claimed that Apple infringed its patents for a smartwatch sensor that uses lights to measure the oxygen concentration in the user’s blood.

This sensor technology was added to the Apple Watch Series 6 and remained in the device design until the current Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models.

(Apple stopped selling older Watches as new models were introduced, so the 9 and Ultra 2 are the only ones mentioned in the ban.)

A federal judge ruled in favor of Masimo, saying Apple infringed the company’s patents, and the International Trade Commission upheld that ruling in October 2023.

The fate of new Apple Watch models has been at stake ever since.

Immediately after the ruling was issued, Apple began taking preventive measures to comply with the upcoming ban.

Just before Christmas, the company removed the watches from its physical and online stores, although the watches were still available at online retailers like Amazon and non-Apple brick-and-mortar stores during the holidays.

The sales pause lasted for a few days and resumed immediately after Christmas, before stopping again this week.

Apple will file an appeal in federal court, but a decision could take a year and there is no guarantee the company will win.

Meanwhile, Apple can’t sell any of the Series 9 or Ultra 2 smartwatches that have blood oxygen sensing technology.

Apple has found a solution to disable the problematic sensor in existing smartwatches with a software update and has redesigned new Watch models to remove the sensor entirely.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that Apple has already sent newly redesigned versions of the Watch to Apple Stores with instructions to start selling them once the ban takes effect.

Wednesday’s court ruling does not affect the Watch SE, which does not have blood-tracking sensors.

The SE is the most affordable version of Apple’s Apple Watch and is the first overall pick in our guide to the best Apple watches.

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