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Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 are back... sort of

Apple Watch Ultra 2

If you've had your eye on the Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2, it's about to get easier to get your hands on one -- albeit without a certain health tracking feature. 

After a confusing saga, the Apple Watch oximeter ban, which had previously been on hold, will now be in effect as of today at 5 PM ET. Apple will no longer make or restock watches with blood oxygen monitoring, but will instead ship new units with that feature removed. That means the Series 9 and Ultra 2 will both be available, with plenty in stock. But the older models will only be up for grabs as long as they're available. When they sell out, there are no more. 

Get the Apple Watch online: Quick links

Ready to buy that Apple Watch? We don't blame you. Here's where you're most likely to find the watch in stock online right now.

Where to buy affected Apple Watch models

According to Apple, the affected models should already be back in Apple stores. We've also found the affected models on Amazon and other retailers right now. Find them using the links below.

Apple Watch Series 9

Apple Watch Series 9

The Apple Watch Series 9 is the latest addition to the Apple Watch lineup, excluding the recently launched Apple Watch Ultra 2.

This smartwatch offers a wide range of features to support virtually every aspect of your daily life. Packed with advanced functionalities such as heart monitoring, crash detection, and many more, it comes in a sleek and compact design that makes it a worthwhile upgrade from the previous model. 

Moreover, it boasts impressive health-tracking capabilities, including electrical heart sensors for ECG and a body temperature sensor. Women can also utilize the smartwatch to track their menstrual cycles. 

It seamlessly integrates with your new iPhone, enabling you to make calls, send texts, access your favorite apps, and much more.

The larger 45mm Apple Watch 9 is available starting at $419 at Amazon and Walmart. It's a good choice for those with larger wrists.

Apple Watch Ultra 2


The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is a standout option for power users or anyone who loves to stay active. It features a more robust set of features that can be crucial in emergency situations, especially if you're someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, hiking, camping or hanging out away from home. 

In addition to its GPS capabilities and dual speakers, the Ultra 2 introduces several new features, including an action button, a side button and a trio of microphones. One standout addition is the 86-decibel siren, which can be heard from a distance of up to 600 feet.

It's rugged, durable and reliable, crafted with a titanium casing. The Ultra 2 boasts an impressive battery life of up to 36 hours, which can be extended to 72 hours in low power mode.

One notable improvement over the previous Apple Watch Ultra model is the brighter, always-on retina display with a Night Mode, which enhances visibility in dim conditions. It's worth mentioning that the watch is quite large (49 mm), so if you prefer a more compact screen on your wrist, this may not be the best choice for you.

What models did the Apple Watch ban affect?

The ITC's ruling specifically targeted the sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 because both of those models feature blood oxygen monitoring capabilities. The Apple Watch SE, while similar, does not have this feature and will continue to be sold regardless of future court rulings.

This and future ITC rulings do not affect Apple Watches with the blood oxygen sensor that have already been sold. These models, including those from Series 6 onwards that feature the technology, will continue to function as normal. Any future ban would only target new sales of the affected models. 

Where to buy unaffected Apple Watch models

None of the Apple Watch models outside of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 are affected by any of this legal drama. If you want to buy one of these watches, some models are currently on sale and may be purchased as normal without any looking "expiration date" to be concerned with. 

Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm)

The Apple Watch Series 8 may be one step below the Apple Watch Series 9, but it's still worth wearing if you don't want to fork over the extra cash. And it may be the best option going forward if the Apple Watch ban ends up lasting a lengthy period of time. 

Of course, the Apple Watch 8 offers an array of features in a sleek, easy-to-wear design, and it works just as well for a little less cash. This model includes health-monitoring tools such as an optical heart sensor, an ECG-capable electrical heart sensor, a blood oxygen sensor and a newly added body temperature sensor. 

Additionally, it has an innovative crash detection function that recognizes when the user is involved in a major car accident and promptly notifies emergency responders.

You can get the Apple Watch Series 8 for at Walmart for $400 now.

Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen)

Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen)

Despite its budget-friendly price, the Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) packs impressive capabilities as a pared-down alternative to the core Apple Watch models. Given that the Apple Watch Ultra is currently out of stock at most retailers, this is one option that seems to be in stock at most locations and offers the best bang for your buck. 

It delivers key features like fitness tracking, crash detection, advanced workout metrics and more. Note that blood oxygen measurement is not included. Like pricier models, the SE allows you to handle calls, texts, music streaming and more right from your wrist when connected to your phone. It also provides 50m of water resistance.

So if you want solid smartwatch functionality without the premium price tag, the Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen)  is a compelling option to consider.

The Apple Watch SE is available in two sizes. The smaller 40 mm size watch is available at Amazon starting at $240, slightly reduced from $249. The version with cellular connectivity costs extra.

The larger 44mm is intermittently available on Amazon. Currently, it's available for $229. 

Why was the Apple Watch facing a ban?

Apple briefly removed the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models from store shelves in the United States due to an October ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC). This decision was the outcome of a patent dispute between Apple and the medical technology company Masimo concerning the blood oxygen sensor technology used in both Apple Watch models. 

Masimo accused Apple of infringing on five patents. The ITC found that Apple infringed on two of these patents, and its offenses specifically related to the pulse oximeter feature in the Apple Watch. 

The ITC's ruling initially led to a 60-day review. During this period, President Biden could have vetoed the ruling, but didn't. 

The ITC rejected Apple's attempt to stay the ruling on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023. Presidential vetoes of ITC decisions aren't very common. President Obama vetoed an ITC ban on the iPhone in 2013 during Apple's legal dispute with Samsung. The latest ruling asks the ITC to consider a request by Apple to allow for continued sales of the watches while the issue moves through the courts.

Will there be another Apple Watch ban?

The future of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 isn't clear right now. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) originally had until January 10 to respond to Apple's request for a longer stay while the issue moved through the courts. 

Previously, in a statement provided to CBS News, Apple initially said it was "thrilled to return the full Apple Watch lineup to customers in time for the new year." 

The stay request was subsequently denied, and Apple has now been forced to cease importing new units with the functionality as of January 18. 

Currently, Apple's workaround while dealing with this decision has been to cease restocking older Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models and begin manufacturing new units without the blood oxygen monitoring feature entirely. 

There are now plentiful units for both models funneling into retailers, and old models will be sold until they are no longer available. Apple has not issued any further commentary on whether it will eventually restore the blood oxygen monitoring option to new models in the future following the conclusion of litigation proceedings. 

Will I still be able to use my Apple Watch Ultra 2 or Apple Watch Series 9?

Yes, you will still be able to use your Apple Watch Ultra 2 or Apple Watch Series 9 regardless of any future court rulings. Those rulings will not affect Apple Watches that have already been sold and are in use by consumers.

Affected models, including those with the pulse oximeter feature that is at the center of the patent dispute, will continue to function as normal. Any new ITC decision would only halts new sales and imports of the affected models due to the patent infringement issue. Apple has also confirmed in a statement that there will be no change to watches that have already been sold in the wild. 

So, if you already own an Apple Watch Ultra 2 or Series 9, you can continue to use it without any restrictions or changes in functionality. The same goes for the new watches you may purchase now.

Are there any other Apple Watch models that could be affected in the future?

Currently, there's no indication that other Apple Watch models, aside from the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, are affected by the legal situation surrounding the International Trade Commission (ITC). The ruling specifically deals with the usage of Masimo's blood oxygen sensor technology.

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