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Apple halts sales of the Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2 in its online store ahead of Dec 25 ban

Apple Watch Series 9 (left) and Apple Watch Ultra (right)

As it promised, Apple no longer sells the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra via its online store in the US — and time is running out to get them at brick and mortar Apple Stores, too.

Apple has suspended online sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the United States ahead of the upcoming import ban. The ban will go into full effect on December 25 thanks to a ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) in a patent infringement case involving med-tech company Masimo.

In the last 10 minutes, the Apple Watch page shifted from the Series 9 being on the top, to the Apple Watch SE. The Series 9 and Ultra parts of the page now say "currently unavailable."

While Apple has halted sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the US, it's important to note that other retailers, such as Walmart and Best Buy, are still allowed to sell any existing stock they hold even after the December 25 deadline. Additionally, the upcoming ban does not place any restrictions on resales.

In 2020, Masimo filed a lawsuit against Apple with the U.S. District Court. The lawsuit claimed that Apple had stolen trade secrets and violated patents with the blood pulse oximeter included in the Apple Watch. This was later followed up by a filing with the ITC in 2021.

While the District Court trial ended in a mistrial and didn't resume, the ITC ruled in favor of Masimo in January 2023.

If left uncontested, the Apple Watch import ban will theoretically last until the patent expires in August 2028.

The dispute has led to an import ban on models that feature the blood pulse oximeter, but other models, like the Apple Watch SE, will not be affected. While the import ban will start on Christmas day, Apple will end sales of the Apple Watch in brick-and-mortar Apple Stores on Christmas Eve — December 24.

Apple had requested that the import ban on Apple Watch be delayed until the appeals can be processed. However, the US ITC has rejected that request.

Whether or not the ban will take a toll on Apple is a bit of a contentious subject. Some believe the ban could cause a loss of approximately $300-400 million in Apple's sales during the holiday season. However, this amount is comparatively small for Apple, considering the anticipated total sales of nearly $120 billion for the October-December quarter.

However, others are concerned that, if left unchecked, the ban could cause substantial problems for Apple in the 2024 fiscal year.