Apple has made good on its promise and officially removed the Watch Series 9 from its online shop. The surprise decision arose from an ongoing patent dispute that has forced the tech giant to halt sales of its flagship smartwatch. Upon visiting the site, you will now see the words “Currently Unavailable” where the Buy button once stood.
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 has also been taken off the virtual shelves. However, you can still purchase the entry-level Apple Watch SE, likely due to its limited health tracking capabilities. The Series 9 is still available through other online retailers, such as Amazon, with some areas still offering pre-Christmas delivery.
The smartwatch will continue to be sold at brick and mortar Apple Store locations until Christmas Eve. If you have already placed an online order for in-store pickup, you can still do so until December 24, as confirmed by the company to TechCrunch.
Apple’s legal battle with health technology company Masimo has been widely publicized for the past couple of years. Even though Apple has lost some key rulings, Monday’s announcement still stunned many due to its unprecedented nature.
In an earlier statement to TechCrunch, the company stated, “A Presidential Review Period is in progress regarding an order from the U.S. International Trade Commission on a technical intellectual property dispute pertaining to Apple Watch devices containing the Blood Oxygen feature. While the review period will not end until December 25, Apple is taking precautionary steps to comply if the ruling stands. This includes temporarily halting sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 on Apple.com starting December 21, and in Apple retail locations after December 24. We work tirelessly to provide customers with industry-leading health, wellness, and safety features, and strongly disagree with the order. We are actively exploring legal and technical options to ensure that the Apple Watch remains available to our customers. In the event that the order is upheld, we will do everything in our power to promptly return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to our U.S. customers.”
The heart of the dispute lies in an optical image sensor used to track a wearer’s heart rate. Apple has been using similar technology since 2020 with the release of the Series 6. Masimo has accused the tech giant of poaching key employees and alleged, “Apple began hiring Masimo employees, starting with Masimo’s Chief Medical Officer.”
There is never a convenient time to stop selling one of your best-selling products, and the holiday season is no exception. While Apple tried to keep sales open until the last minute, some customers may find themselves receiving a rain check this year.