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Christmas-Time Trouble: Apple’s latest watches banned!

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Business has turned a bit sour for Apple as the giant tech company faces an unexpected ban. Following a buildup of events in the last quarter of 2023, Apple is compelled to remove its newest watches- Series 9 and Ultra 2 – from store shelves in the United States.‌

This is far from the company’s expectations of massive holiday sales, and definitely a disappointment to the thousands of Apple lovers who might have looked forward to brandishing the new products.

At the heart of Apple’s ban is a patent infringement charge ruled by the International Trade Commission (ITC). The International Trade Commission (ITC) is an independent, bi-partisan United States trade regulator.

According to the body, one of the key features of Apple’s latest watches infringes the patent of a California-based medical monitoring technology company named Masimo.

Masimo’s Pulse-Oximeter

‎The bone of contention is the incorporation of a health-tracking component into Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches that mirrors Masimo’s pulse-oximeter technology. The technology enables the new watches to track a user’s blood-oxygen levels by emitting light through the wearer’s skin.

This disputed feature/sensor is the major selling point of the new models. Its removal would mean a significant decline in revenue for Apple. It does not help that Apple has, in this same year, hit hurdles in terms of revenue generation. The company’s iPad revenue fell from $29.3 billion in 2022 to $28.3 billion in the last quarter of this year. China accounts for 20% of Apple’s revenue. In China, this year, Apple faced slipping market shares due to intense competition from homegrown phone makers like Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi.

As if to add salt to injury, the Chinese government expanded its ban on iPhones for state agencies and state-owned companies, lowering Apple’s stock price by almost 7% in just 48 hours. The recent brewing patent dispute is, however, a major concern for the company.

Following ITC’s rulings, Apple ceased the online sales of its latest watches on December 21 and removed the products from stores 3 days later. Walmart and other third-party vendors can continue selling their remaining inventory- good news for those who are looking to own the new Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches!

Apple’s engineers have been working around the clock to avert the ban, set to begin on Christmas Day. Their last-minute efforts include software modifications to the watches. The other party has, in response, argued that hardware modifications were implied by the rulings. In a follow-up move, the company appealed for President Biden to veto the regulator’s ruling but even this was turned back. In an interview on Tuesday, Masimo CEO Joe Kiani said that Apple hasn’t come to them with an apology or settlement- this might be the last resort for Apple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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