As promised, Apple has officially removed the Watch Series 9 from its online store. The unexpected move was confirmed earlier this week, citing an ongoing patent dispute that has compelled the company to temporarily halt sales of its flagship smartwatch. Visiting the site now displays the words “Currently Unavailable” instead of a Buy button.
Similarly, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is also unavailable for purchase. However, the entry-level Apple Watch SE is still accessible, likely due to its limited on-board health metrics. The Series 9 can still be obtained through other online sources, with Amazon, for example, guaranteeing pre-Christmas delivery in some areas.
Brick-and-mortar Apple Store locations will continue to have the wearable until Christmas Eve. Customers who have already ordered the watch online for in-store pickup can still do so until December 24, as confirmed by the company to TechCrunch.
The well-documented patent battle between Apple and health tech company Masimo, spanning the past few years, led to this unexpected decision. Despite losing some key rulings, Monday’s announcement surprised many due to its unprecedented nature.
In a statement provided to TechCrunch earlier in the week, Apple mentioned an ongoing Presidential Review Period related to a U.S. International Trade Commission order on a technical intellectual property dispute involving the Blood Oxygen feature in Apple Watch devices. Apple, disagreeing strongly with the order, is taking preemptive steps, including pausing sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from Apple.com starting December 21 and from Apple retail locations after December 24.
The core of the dispute revolves around an optical image sensor used for monitoring a wearer’s heart rate, technology Apple has utilized since 2020 with the Series 6. Masimo accuses Apple of poaching key talent and claims that Apple began hiring Masimo employees, starting with Masimo’s Chief Medical Officer.
Stopping sales of a major product is never ideal, and the holiday season poses additional challenges. Although Apple kept sales open until the last moment, some customers may find themselves receiving rainchecks this year.