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Here’s when Apple Watches are set to return to store shelves


By Samantha Delouya, CNN

(CNN) — It’s been a rollercoaster lately for Apple Watch shoppers.

The newest models were yanked from Apple’s shelves in the throes of the holiday shopping season amid an ongoing patent dispute, though a last-minute court order means they’ve started going back on sale ­– for now, at least.

Here’s what you might have missed about the whirlwind saga:

Apple announced a surprise halt in watch sales last week

On December 18, Apple said it would stop selling the latest versions of its smartwatch, Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, to get ahead of a patent dispute with medical device maker Masimo.

Apple’s decision to pull one of its most popular products followed an October ruling by the US International Trade Commission that Apple violated Masimo’s pulse oximeter patent, which uses light-based technology to read blood oxygen levels.

Older models of the Apple Watch and the cheaper Apple Watch SE were not part of the ITC ruling.

Apple said it strongly disagreed with the order but that the company would pull the devices until December 25 – the deadline for President Joe Biden to review the potential import ban.

At the time, Masimo CEO Joe Kiani told CNN that Apple hadn’t attempted to settle the dispute, but Kiani said he was open to it.

President Biden declined to weigh in on the Apple Watch import ban

December 25 came and went, and the White House let the clock run out. Biden’s administration declined to issue a last-minute, emergency action to keep Apple’s best-selling smartwatch in stores.

“After careful consultations, Ambassador Tai decided not to reverse the ITC’s determination and the ITC’s decision became final on December 26, 2023,” said a spokesperson for US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

Apple then filed an emergency appeal to the Federal Circuit Court to overturn the ITC ruling. Apple also said it would submit a redesign of its Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches for US Customs approval.

A return to the shelves

On Wednesday, a federal appeal court temporarily blocked the ITC’s import ban on Apple Watches while Apple’s patent dispute with Masimo winds its way through the legal system.

Apple confirmed in a statement that it would once again offer the affected watches for sale on its website beginning Thursday at noon Pacific Time.

The company also said the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 would again be available for purchase in some US stores starting Wednesday, with wider availability rolling out in the coming days.

The announcement means Apple will sell “the full Apple Watch lineup to customers in time for the new year,” the company added.

The appeals court’s temporary block on the ITC’s order will allow US Customs to consider Apple’s redesign of the Apple Watch models at issue, a fix that is expected to take place by January 12. While Apple may make software tweaks to its pulse oximeter, there is no guarantee that ITC will accept Apple’s potential solution.

“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,” the company said.

– CNN’s Samantha Murphy Kelly, Clare Duffy, David Goldman and Brian Fung contributed to reporting

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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