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Apple Halts Sales of Flagship Watch Series 9 Amidst Patent Dispute

Apple, in a jaw-dropping twist, has stealthily erased the Watch Series 9 from its online haven
By Josefina Dipaolo
December 25, 2023

In an unexpected twist, Apple has pulled the curtain on its flagship Watch Series 9, officially removing it from its online shelves. The abrupt move, disclosed earlier this week, stems from an ongoing patent dispute that has compelled the tech giant to hit pause on the sales of its premium smartwatch. As you navigate through Apple's online store, you'll encounter the stark label of "Currently Unavailable" where the familiar Buy button once beckoned.

The repercussions of this surprising development extend to the Apple Watch Ultra 2, sharing a similar fate of unavailability. However, in the face of this setback, the entry-level Apple Watch SE remains accessible, likely owing to its more limited array of on-board health metrics. For those undeterred, Series 9 can still be sourced from alternative online channels, with Amazon assuring pre-Christmas deliveries in select areas.

Despite the digital disappearance of the Series 9, brick-and-mortar Apple Store locations will continue to feature the coveted wearable until Christmas Eve. Apple has confirmed that those who have already placed online orders for in-store pickup can follow through with their plans until December 24, ensuring a touch of tech beneath the Christmas tree.

Apple's prolonged patent feud with health tech company Masimo has been an unfolding saga over the past couple of years. Even in the wake of Apple facing setbacks in key rulings, Monday's announcement still managed to catch many off guard, given its unprecedented nature.

In a statement shared with TechCrunch earlier this week, Apple reiterated its commitment to contesting the decisions. The mention of a Presidential Review Period, currently underway, sheds light on the technical intellectual property dispute related to Apple Watch devices featuring the Blood Oxygen feature. The proactive decision to halt sales from starting December 21 and from Apple retail locations post-December 24 aligns with Apple's readiness to comply should the ruling stand.

As the tech giant navigates the turbulent waters of a patent dispute, the absence of the Series 9 from Apple's official channels leaves consumers and enthusiasts alike pondering the future. Apple's unwavering commitment to legal and technical recourse signifies a determination to ensure the iconic Apple Watch remains accessible to users. The countdown to December 25, the conclusion of the review period, holds the key to what's next in this gripping chapter of Apple's quest for innovation and resilience in the face of challenges.

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