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In a surprising turn of events, Apple is encountering a setback in its Apple Watch sales, particularly the Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 models. This development comes after a judge ruled that Apple has infringed on a patent owned by medical device maker Masimo, related to the blood oxygen sensor technology featured on the Apple Watch.
The blood oxygen sensor, a key health monitoring feature, operates by emitting light into the user’s skin and then gauging the oxygen levels in the blood. Masimo, a comparatively smaller company with a market value of $6 billion, successfully argued that Apple’s use of this technology violates their patent rights.
This legal verdict has prompted Apple to cease the sale of the affected models in its retail stores by December 21st, with the online platform discontinuing sales on December 24th. This decision is undoubtedly a blow to Apple, given that the Apple Watch recorded impressive sales of $52 million in 2022 and remains a dominant force in the watch market, outselling the entire Swiss watch industry.
While it might seem unusual for a smaller player like Masimo to take on a tech giant like Apple, the legal ruling has now imposed a ban on the sale of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Series 9 in the United States. The ban, if upheld, could significantly impact Apple’s revenue stream and market share in the smartwatch industry.
The situation introduces an intriguing dynamic where consumers might rush to purchase the affected Apple Watch models, anticipating potential rarity and an increase in market value. Some may even explore resale opportunities on platforms like eBay, capitalizing on the potential scarcity of these models.
Apple may resort to a software update, eliminating the functionality associated with the disputed blood oxygen sensor. However, this move could potentially undermine the appeal and utility of the affected Apple Watch models.
The complexity of this situation underscores the intricate relationship between technology giants, patent rights, and the broader legal landscape. Whatever the outcome, it is a reminder that even industry giants like Apple can face unexpected challenges that require careful navigation in both legal and public relations arenas.