Apple Suspends Online Sales of Apple Watches in Anticipation of Impending US Ban

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In a surprising turn of events, Apple has ceased the online sales of its flagship smartwatches, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, ahead of the impending US International Trade Commission (ITC) ban set to take effect on December 26th.

US Ban Impact on Online Sales

Apple’s decision to halt online sales specifically targets the Series 9 and Ultra 2, leaving them available only in-store and through other retailers until the ban is in full force.

Details of the Import Ban

The ban results from a patent dispute with medical device manufacturer Masimo, revolving around the SpO2 sensor present in Apple’s smartwatches.

The SpO2 Sensor Patent Dispute

The ITC ruled in favor of Masimo, declaring that Apple’s SpO2 sensor infringes upon Masimo’s patents. Despite Apple’s motion to stay the ban being denied, the company can continue selling the Apple Watch SE, which lacks the disputed sensor.

Impact on Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE, being more affordable and without the SpO2 sensor, remains unaffected by the import ban, providing users with an alternative option.

Refurbished Watch Removal

In response to the ban, Apple has also removed refurbished versions of prior watches with SpO2 sensors, including the Series 7 and Series 8, from its online store.

Special Editions Withdrawn

Special editions of the Series 9, such as the Apple Watch Nike and Apple Watch Hermès, have been pulled in compliance with the ITC ban.

Scope of the ITC Ban

It’s important to note that the ban solely impacts Apple’s sales channels, sparing other retailers from immediate repercussions until their existing supplies deplete. Moreover, the ban exclusively affects Apple watch sales in the US, leaving other regions unaffected.

Duration of the Ban

The duration of the ban remains uncertain, with Apple exploring various legal and technical options to ensure the availability of its watches.

Apple’s Response and Possible Solutions

Apple, in a statement, expressed strong disagreement with the ITC’s ruling, emphasizing the pursuit of legal and technical strategies to overcome the ban.

Engineering Changes to Avoid Infringement

Reports suggest that Apple’s engineers are actively working on software modifications to bypass Masimo’s patents. However, the complexity of the dispute may require hardware adjustments, potentially extending the resolution timeline.

Option of Settlement with Masimo

While a settlement with Masimo remains a viable option, Apple’s CEO, Joe Kiani, noted the absence of communication from Apple as of December 19th.

Apple’s Disagreement with ITC Ruling

Apple’s spokesperson, Nikki Rothberg, emphasized the company’s disagreement with the ITC’s ruling, reiterating the exploration of diverse avenues to make the Apple Watch available to customers.

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Q: How long will the ban be in effect?
A: The duration is uncertain, pending legal and technical resolutions by Apple.

Q: Can I still buy Apple Watches from other retailers?
A: Yes, the ban only affects Apple’s sales channels; other retailers are unaffected until their supplies run out.

Q: Which Apple Watch models are impacted by the ban?
A: The Series 9 and Ultra 2, along with refurbished Series 7 and Series 8 watches, and special editions of the Series 9.

Q: Is the Apple Watch SE still available?
A: Yes, the Apple Watch SE remains available as it lacks the disputed SpO2 sensor.

Q: How is Apple responding to the ban?
A: Apple strongly disagrees with the ruling, exploring legal, technical, and possible settlement options.

Q: Why is the ban imposed by the ITC?
A: The ban results from a patent dispute with Masimo over the SpO2 sensor in Apple’s smartwatches.


In conclusion, Apple’s decision to suspend online sales strategically addresses the impending ITC ban, emphasizing the company’s commitment to resolving the patent dispute and ensuring continued access to its innovative smartwatches.

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