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Apple Halts US Sales of Series 9, Ultra 2 Smartwatch Amidst Patent Dispute

In a surprising turn of events, Apple finds itself on the brink of a ban on two of its cutting-edge smartwatches in the United States. The ban, imposed by the International Trade Commission (ITC), threatens a significant portion of Apple’s $17 billion business. The cause? Alleged patent infringement related to the blood oxygen level tracking feature by Masimo Corp, a medical technology company.

The Challenge: The ban, if implemented, could impact Apple’s sales during the crucial holiday season, particularly affecting the Watch Ultra 2 and Watch Series 9 models. Apple engineers are swiftly working on software fixes to address the patent concerns, modifying the algorithms responsible for measuring users’ blood oxygen levels. However, the challenge lies not only in overcoming the ban but also in ensuring that these modifications align with the regulatory requirements.

A Critical Task for Apple: As the ban looms, Apple faces the critical task of finding a workaround that satisfies both technical and legal requirements. Reports suggest that Apple is considering submitting a workaround to the US customs agency, seeking approval for the reintroduction of the watches to the market. However, Masimo contends that a mere software fix may not be sufficient, emphasizing the need for hardware adjustments.

Impact on Apple Watch Sales: The potential ban could significantly impact Apple Watch sales in its home country, raising concerns about the ripple effect on global markets, including India. With Apple heavily relying on overseas suppliers for watch components and assembly, the ban’s implications extend beyond the borders of the United States.

Apple’s Strategies: In response to the impending ban, Apple is exploring various legal and technical strategies. The company is already preparing its stores for the change, strategically promoting the Apple Watch without featuring the Series 9 and Ultra 2 models affected by the ban. Simultaneously, Apple is actively working on both hardware and software fixes, acknowledging that the introduction of new technology to the market will require time and meticulous planning.

The Blood-Oxygen Feature: At the heart of the dispute is the blood-oxygen feature, introduced with the Apple Watch Series 6 in 2020. This feature gained prominence during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling doctors to monitor patients’ breathing. Offering continuous blood-oxygen level monitoring throughout the day, the feature allows users to take instant readings in approximately 15 seconds, providing valuable health insights.

As Apple navigates this unexpected challenge, the focus remains on innovation and adaptation. The company’s commitment to modifying technology and gaining regulatory approval underscores its dedication to delivering cutting-edge products while ensuring compliance with legal standards. The coming weeks will reveal the outcome of Apple’s efforts to overcome the ban, showcasing the resilience and agility of one of the world’s most iconic tech giants.


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