Just Wednesday, it was announced that the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit refused to extend the pause on the temporary ban on Apple Watches and ordered it to officially halt sales of the watches by 5 pm ET on Thursday, January 18.
According to 9to5Mac’s latest report, Apple has finally managed to execute the workaround it had been planning for a while and is now selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 without the blood oxygen sensor.
The sales started at 6 am PT on January 18. These tweaked watches still include the Blood Oxygen app, but when you open it, it says, “The Blood Oxygen app is no longer available. Learn more in the Health app on your iPhone.” Going to the Health app on your iPhone takes you to a support article on Apple’s website.
This is a lot of back and forth, we know. Let’s break this down. Due to an ongoing legal battle that Apple and a Californian health-tech company, Masimo, have been fighting, the Apple watches Series 9 and Ultra 2 were banned in both retail stores and on Apple’s online shop.
Allegedly, Apple stole some confidential info from one of the two companies’ meetings regarding a potential collaboration. Masimo claims Apple later declined the collaboration but ended up stealing Masimo’s tech along with poaching some of their top executives.
As a consequence, Apple was banned from selling its watches. The oxygen sensor was first added to the Series 6 Watch and has been a part of all its watches ever since. However, since Apple discontinued older models anyway, the Series 9 and the Ultra 2 are the only models that received the ban.
Right before the end of last year, the two models were taken off the shelves but quickly became available again just a few days ago as the court was re-reviewing the case. Then, the Court of Appeals re-imposed a ban that was supposed to start today, but Apple quickly managed to circumvent it.
We have reached out to Apple for a statement on the matter and will update this article when and if they get back.