The White House refuses to reverse the Apple Watch ban, so Apple is appealing

Apple Watch Ultra 2 watch face and straps
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is affected (Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Watch ban is now in full force after the Biden administration chose not to intervene and reverse the decision to stop sales – and Apple has said it will now appeal a decision that it "strongly disagrees" with.

To recap: Apple has been told to halt sales of the Apple Watch 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the US, over a sensor patent dispute with a company called Masimo. You can no longer buy these products direct from Apple, and as imports into the US have been stopped too, they'll soon be disappearing from third-party retailers too.

As per the BBC and 9to5Mac, the 60-day window during which the White House has the opportunity to get involved has now passed without incident – and that means the ruling made by the  International Trade Commission (ITC) in the US still stands.

The office of Katherine Tai, the United States Trade Representative Ambassador, said on Tuesday that it had come to the decision not to reverse the ITC's decision after some "careful consultations". It was Apple's last real hope of avoiding a ban.

The next steps

Apple, as you might expect, isn't best pleased. In a statement to 9to5Mac, it said "we strongly disagree" with the decision, and the company has now confirmed that it's "taking all measures" to get the ban lifted – including an official appeal.

"At Apple, we work tirelessly to create products and services that meaningfully impact users' lives," the statement says, noting that "millions of people" benefit from the "scientifically validated" features on the Apple Watch. That seems to suggest the sensor tech is all Apple's own work, rather than being pinched from Masimo.

It's not clear exactly how long all of this will take to play out, but the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) organization in the US is due to make a decision on January 12 on whether redesigned versions of the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 – without the disputed elements – can be put on sale.

For the time being, repairs and replacements aren't affected, as long as your device is still under warranty or protected by AppleCare. Apple says it wants normal service resumed "as soon as possible", so watch this space.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.