If you put off an Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 purchase until the last minute for the holidays then you need to hurry if you want it directly from Apple, as both are about to be pulled from the shelves.
No, this isn't a high-pressure sales tactic by the clever folks from Cupertino. According to a statement from Apple to 9to5Mac, its latest wearables will not be available from its website or retail locations soon due to an ITC ruling on a patent dispute regarding Apple's use of blood oxygen sensor technology.
You better Watch out
The Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 will first disappear from Apple's website at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 21, while in-store purchases will remain through December 24. After that Apple's direct sales of either model will be on an indefinite hiatus.
Before you run screaming into the streets in a panic over the potential inability to pick up the Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2 soon (No, I don't imagine you were poised to do so, but just in case), you will still be able to buy either model from other retailers. The ruling from the International Trade Commission purely stated that Apple itself couldn't sell them. Apple will also still be able to offer direct service and repairs for watches that were already sold.
There is still a potential out for Apple before the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve as the order from the ITC is in a Presidential Review Period that comes to a close on December 25, hence the timing of all this. President Biden could potentially veto the ruling allowing sales to continue as normal. However, this is the tail end of the 60-day review period, so unless President Biden just likes amping up the tension it seems unlikely at this point.
Assuming the sales restriction does go into effect, there isn't a clear end in sight. Apple will likely file an appeal on December 26, but that won't reverse the ban. If Apple is unable to win in court it will have to seek alternative options. This could include a licensing agreement with Masimo, the patent holder, or it could redesign its blood oxygen sensor to avoid the relevant patents.
But until that time, you'll need to buy your Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 from someone other than Apple.
Stay in the know with Laptop Mag
Get our in-depth reviews, helpful tips, great deals, and the biggest news stories delivered to your inbox.
Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.