Apple Delivers: Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 Removed from U.S. Online Stores as Promised

The debate over Apple’s use of patented technology owned by Masimo for the pulse oximeter used on some Apple Watch models has led to a ban on the import of certain Apple Watch models in the U.S. This decision comes after an International Trade Commission (ITC) judge ruled in favor of Masimo, imposing a ban that will take effect on December 26th.

In response to the ruling, Apple has already started removing the affected devices from its online store and will do the same in physical Apple Stores on December 24th. However, third-party retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart can continue selling the affected Apple Watch models until their supplies run out.

Looking for a way to address the issue, Apple engineers are considering making changes to the pulse oximeter’s algorithms and software to avoid infringement on Masimo’s patent. However, it remains uncertain whether a software fix will clear a patent infringement ruling based on hardware.

As the ban date approaches, the White House has yet to indicate whether President Joe Biden will veto the import ban. If no decision is made, Apple may respond with an appeal on December 26th. Alternatively, the company could pursue a settlement and licensing deal with Masimo, although Masimo CEO Joe Kiani has expressed a desire for Apple to apologize before any settlement talks.

The ban does not affect the second-generation Apple Watch SE, as it does not include the pulse oximeter feature. Despite the setback, Apple is pursuing legal and technical options to get the affected Apple Watch models back on store shelves.

The situation raises questions about the use of patented technology in consumer products and the potential impact of import bans on global supply chains. As the debate continues, the tech industry and consumers await further developments in this ongoing legal battle.