Tech Made Simple

Hot Topics: How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems | Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy | How to Block Spam Calls | Snapchat Symbol Meaning

We may earn commissions when you buy from links on our site. Why you can trust us.

author photo

Apple Watch Sales Halt Looms: Here's What You Need to Know

by Elizabeth Harper on December 21, 2023

It’s about to get more difficult to buy an Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 because a patent dispute will prevent Apple from selling them after December 25. In anticipation of this ban, Apple will stop selling its latest smartwatches online on Thursday, December 21 at 3 PM ET, and they’ll be pulled from Apple retail stores after December 24. If you plan to pick up the latest Apple Watch as a holiday gift, you need to act fast.

Apple Watch current models in December 2023: from the left Watch 9, Watch Ultra 2, Watch SE

Apple's current Watch models from the left: Watch 9, Watch Ultra 2, Watch SE

The issue is over a decade-old dispute with Masimo, a medical technology company. Masimo has accused Apple of infringing on its blood oximeter patents with technology that allows the Apple Watch to monitor blood oxygen levels, and the courts ruled in Masimo’s favor earlier this year. Now, a ruling from the International Trade Commission is coming into effect, banning sales of Apple Watches that include this technology. Apple’s appeal to prevent the ban was denied this week, though there’s a slight chance President Biden may overturn the ITC ruling.

It's important to note that if you already own an Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2, this ban won't affect your device's functionality. Current users can continue to use their watches as usual without any disruption.

Apple is trying to find a way around the problem with a software update that changes how the Apple Watch measures and displays blood oxygen levels. However, a software update may not be enough to address the issue. Apple continues to fight against the ruling – both on the technical and legal front – but it’s unclear how long these Apple Watch models may remain off the market.

Read more: 5 Reasons to Upgrade to Apple Watch 9

Fortunately, you still have options to buy an Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2. While Apple can no longer sell these watches, other retailers can. So, even if you miss Apple’s deadline, you can still buy a watch from Amazon, Best Buy, Target, or Walmart. (As of this morning, the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 were even on sale on Amazon for $70 off.) However, stock will eventually run out as Apple is also banned from importing new watches.

If having the top-tier model isn’t a must, the Apple Watch SE – which doesn’t track blood oxygen levels – will remain on sale. If you don’t need the extra health features, the SE is an excellent smartwatch that comes at a lower price (starting at $249) than the Apple Watch Series 9 (starting at $399) or Apple Watch Ultra 2 (starting at $799). And if the medical features are crucial, you may consider buying a stand-alone blood oximeter – which can be pretty economical, with simple models starting around $20. And if you just want a highly-rated fitness tracker/smartwatch combo, there’s the Fitbit Versa 4 ($149) for those considering the Watch 9 and the Garmin Venu 3 ($426) for those looking for similar features to the Ultra 2.

But if your heart is set on an Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2, act fast because the ban goes into effect soon and, eventually, supplies will run out at retailers.

[Image credit: Apple]

Elizabeth Harper is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering consumer technology and entertainment. In addition to writing for Techlicious, she's Editorial Director of Blizzard Watch and is published on sites all over the web including Time, CBS, Engadget, The Daily Dot and DealNews.


News, Phones and Mobile, Blog, Apple Watch

Discussion loading

Home | About | Meet the Team | Contact Us
Media Kit | Newsletter Sponsorships | Licensing & Permissions
Accessibility Statement
Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookie Policy

Techlicious participates in affiliate programs, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provide a small commission from some, but not all, of the "click-thru to buy" links contained in our articles. These click-thru links are determined after the article has been written, based on price and product availability — the commissions do not impact our choice of recommended product, nor the price you pay. When you use these links, you help support our ongoing editorial mission to provide you with the best product recommendations.

© Techlicious LLC.