Apple Pausing Apple Watch Sales Starting December 21 – Brilliant Marketing or Compliance Prep?

a group of smart watches
Written by Charlie

Apple is about to pause Apple Watch sales – just before Christmas. Is this prep to comply with a ban or a great sales tactic?

This news came across my desk today and since I share various Apple Watch deals, I thought I would write something up about it. Frankly, I can’t help but see Apple marketing turning something that could be a bad move for them into a brilliant Christmas marketing ploy. Let’s see.

Apple Watch Pausing Sales

So, here’s the deal. In October, the ITC (International Trade Commission) had issued a ban on some Apple Watch imports into the US. This was due to a finding that Apple had violated the patents by a company named Masimo covering the pulse oximetry sensors on the watch. President Biden has until Christmas Day to review this ban but it is expected that he will not overturn it.

Here is Apple’s statement, provided to 9to5mac:

A Presidential Review Period is in progress regarding an order from the U.S. International Trade Commission on a technical intellectual property dispute pertaining to Apple Watch devices containing the Blood Oxygen feature. While the review period will not end until December 25, Apple is preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand. This includes pausing sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from starting December 21, and from Apple retail locations after December 24. The decision does not impact sales of the devices in other countries at this time.

Apple’s teams work tirelessly to create products and services that empower users with industry-leading health, wellness, and safety features. Apple strongly disagrees with the order and is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to customers.

Should the order stand, Apple will continue to take all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.

Given that Apple is a marketing machine, I cannot help but think that Apple is trying to use this likely ban into a last-minute Christmas sale opportunity. They don’t have to stop sales until after December 25 but they are suspending sales starting December 21 for their online website sales and then halting the sales in stores on December 24?

Why not hold off their website sale suspension until December 24 – or even December 25?! This ban is related to the sales and import of those watches with this tech installed. The watches are already here so the import doesn’t stop that. As for sales? Shut the buy button off and that solves that. The ban doesn’t prevent the receipt of the watches, just the sales.

So, is this the greatest Christmas sales marketing move Apple has ever made? By announcing that they are halting online sales on December 21, it introduces scarcity at the biggest shopping moment of the year for last minute shoppers. I am guessing the sales are going to skyrocket as people grab the Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2 before they are “suspended” for sale from Apple.

At any rate, it doesn’t cover the Apple Watch Series 8 or earlier or Ultra since these are no longer sold by Apple. So, you will still see these on all the used markets. Oh, and it doesn’t prevent retailers from selling them so we may see some nice pre-New Year’s sales from Amazon and others with a flush of new stock incoming from Apple. 🙂

One more thing – this is not the first time Apple has used a trademark or a patent from another company without prior permission. They normally go to market with what they have and then buy their way out of it later. I am sure that this is where this will end also but Masimo is now in a great position to command a higher amount of payout/royalty from this.

What do you think? Effort to comply earlier than later or great marketing?

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.