The top Apple Watch models are back on sale – for now

The top Apple Watch models are back on sale – for now

Not long after an appeals court temporarily lifted a sales ban on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States, the company has resumed sales.

While the devices are being placed back on store shelves in Apple Store locations today, the company says it won’t resume online sales until 3pm eastern time on Thursday.

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The pause on the sales ban was granted by a US federal appeals court, following a request from Apple. It will remain valid while the US Customs authority considers whether a software update from Apple would negate the alleged infringement on blood oxygen saturation patents held by the medical device manufacturer Masimo.

That’s set to be decided on January 12, so the Apple Watch models in question will remain on sale until at least then.

Masimo and the US International Trade Commission (which ruled on the initial import ban and sales ban) believe the infringement is hardware related and thus cannot be resolved by a tweaking of the way the data is collected by the watch beyond the sensor itself.

An Apple spokesperson told The Verge on Wednesday: “Apple’s teams have worked tirelessly over many years to develop technology that empowers users with industry-leading health, wellness and safety features and we are pleased the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has stayed the exclusion order while it considers our request to stay the order pending our full appeal.”

Should Apple lose the appeal and the import and sales ban remains in place, there’s no telling what the company will do to get the devices back on sale in the United States, except for changing the technology within the hardware component itself to respect Masimo’s IP.

That would be a tough ask at this stage in the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 development. Apple could be forced to license the technology in question in order to get the devices back on sale in a timely manner. That would likely command a hefty sum. Or it could even be a case of scrambling to make the necessary changes to the sensor in time for 2024’s potential Apple Watch hardware upgrades.

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