Apple announced it will suspend sales of two Apple Watch models this week, pending resolution of a patent dispute.
Based on an analysis of recent Watch sales, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) says this suspension will reduce Watch sales significantly, both in the short-term and also (potentially, though unlikely) in the long-term.
Apple actually faces an import ban based on violating patents for the pulse oximeter feature in Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. The SE and Nike models don’t have the feature, and thus can continue to sell. The two models, or model families, affected account for about 80% of Apple Watch sales in the U.S., according to CIRP.
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 will no longer be available to order from Apple’s website in the U.S. after 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 21. In-store inventory will no longer be available from Apple retail locations after December 24.
However, Bloomberg reports that Apple is plotting a “rescue mission” for the $17 billion business that includes software fixes and other potential workarounds. The article says that engineers at the company are racing to make changes to algorithms on the device that measure a user’s blood oxygen level — a feature that Masimo claims infringes its patents. They’re adjusting how the technology determines oxygen saturation and presents the data to customers, according to Bloomberg.
On the other hand, Gene Munster, long time Apple analyst and managing partner at Loup Ventures, says a year of lost Apple Watch revenue would amount to a 1% hit to revenue. That’s bad, but not catastrophic. What’s more, Munster expects these watches to be back on U.S. shelves — one way or another — within a few months.
Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today