Apple has a contingency plan to sell versions of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 without its Blood Oxygen monitoring feature depending on the outcome of an appeal in its case against Masimo and the International Trade Commission this week but is still selling both with the contested technology meantime.
Apple confirmed to iMore this week that both the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 remain on sale with Blood Oxygen monitoring intact, as the company awaits the outcome of its appeal against an order from the International Trade Commission banning the sale and import of both models in the United States.
From January 16, Apple awaits a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals on its motion, seeking a stay for the duration of the appeal period, which could be well over a year. If this is granted, Apple can continue selling both models until the court case ends.
Apple prepares modified versions of its Apple Watch
However, as we reported yesterday, Apple has prepared a workaround in the case that its motion is denied. As a filing in the case revealed, Apple could ship both models without the contested feature. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, these “modified” Series 9 and Ultra 2 models have “already begun shipping” to U.S. Apple Stores “in case the appeal fails this week.” Gurman says stores “were told not to open or sell the tweaked devices until they receive approval from Apple’s corporate offices,” before noting “It’s possible that those models are the new versions without the blood-oxygen feature.”
Regarding existing models, Mark Gurman further noted on X that he didn’t “anticipate the feature being removed from already sold watches” by way of a software update.
Clearly, Apple is keen to keep both of its best Apple Watch models on shelves and now has a clear plan in place for either contingency. We may know as early as Tuesday whether Apple’s motion has been successful. If it is, that would be a big boost to the company’s legal case. As ipfray’s Florian Mueller notes, “If the Federal Circuit grants a stay pending the entire appellate proceedings in the current circumstances and later overturns the ITC decision, it will be a huge blow to the agency’s credibility.”
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9