Apple Watch sales ban has begun — what you need to know – Tom’s Guide

(Image credit: Future)

The Apple Watch ban is now official as the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 have been removed from the online Apple Store following a blood oxygen monitoring patent dispute.

Going to the Apple website post-removal, you will see the two Apple Watch models listed as “Currently Unavailable.” If you go to the individual product page and scroll to the bottom, you’ll also see the following hiding in the small print: “Following December 24, 2023, Apple no longer sells Apple Watch units in the United States with the ability to measure blood oxygen.”

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

This includes not just the standard Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Series 9 models but also the special edition Apple Watch Nike and Apple Watch Hermès models. The Apple Watch SE 2, which doesn’t use a SpO2 monitor, is still available.

The same ban will apply to in-store purchases from December 24, ahead of the ban being legally in force from December 26. Third-party sales are still an option if you want to get an Apple Watch right now, but don’t expect restocks to happen any time soon if the supplies at Amazon, Best Buy  and other retailers run out. 

Also, the ban only applies to the U.S., so users in other regions should still be able to buy the offending watches without a problem.

To summarize the situation so far: by order of the U.S. International Trade Commission, Apple is no longer allowed to sell its Apple Watches with blood oxygen monitoring (offered since 2020’s Apple Watch 6) since these have been found to violate patents belonging to fellow Californian company Masimo. 

Apple has failed to get the ban put on ice until its appeal begins, so sales are halting until Apple and Masimo agree on how to fix things between them. Possible solutions apparently include all-new Apple Watch models being built without the offending tech, a software patch to disable blood oxygen monitoring in existing Apple Watches or a cash settlement.

On top of blocking new watch sales, the Apple Watch ban is also affecting users hoping to get their already-owned Apple Watch repaired. Reporting from Bloomberg claims that Apple’s not offering out-of-warranty hardware repairs for the Apple Watch 6 or later, since most Apple Watch “repairs” involve giving the user a brand-new watch due to the complexity of fixing them. Software-based issues are not impacted.

The best Apple can seemingly do for owners of broken Apple Watches is recommend users keep a hold of them for now so its engineers can deal with it after the ban’s been resolved. Or if your watch is still under its one-year warranty, or you bought AppleCare for it, you can still get assistance as normal.

This also means no exchanging Apple Watches in-store either, with only refunds currently available if you want to take a watch back. Although watch bands and related accessories can still be swapped, you’d better hope you get your lucky giftee the right size or color of watch the first time around. 

Both the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are on our best smartwatches list, but there are plenty of other choices if you need a new wearable right now. Otherwise, let’s cross our fingers for Apple and Masimo to resolve things soon, so users can buy the right watch for them without any trouble.

More from Tom’s Guide

Source: Read More  

Author (if provided):

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *