Usually, Kiwis get the short end of the stick when it comes to technology, but right now you’re better off buying an Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2 in New Zealand than you are in the United States. Happy days!
It’s all thanks to a patent dispute between Apple and medical tech company Masimo over the pulse oximeter, used to measure the oxygen saturation of an Apple Watch owner’s blood (and it also ties into things like VO2 Max and sleep quality).
In the US, the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that the sensor in both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 infringed on Masimo’s patents and it was pulled from sale by Apple.
Slightly awkwardly, other American retailers could continue to sell it, but Apple Store employees weren’t allowed to tell would-be buyers that. So presumably they’d have to shrug, or heavily hint with eye movements in the direction of the nearest Walmart.
But now Apple is selling both watches again, but with a catch. A note on the product pages on the Apple website at the top of each page reads: “Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 no longer include the blood oxygen feature.”
No further explanation is given, but the company did send a longer statement to 9to5Mac. “Apple’s appeal is ongoing, and we believe the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit should reverse the USITC’s decision,” it reads. “We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting orders.”
After this righteous indignation, the company outlines the steps involved: selling the watches without the Blood Oxygen feature.
This doesn’t seem to involve removing the feature from previously sold watches, which would have class-action specialists rubbing their hands. “There is no impact to Apple Watch units previously purchased that include the Blood Oxygen feature,” the company added.
The good news is this only seems to be in the US — there’s no such warning on the product page on Apple’s New Zealand website, so you can buy with confidence. The Series 9 starts at NZ$749, while the Ultra 2 will set you back at least NZ$1,599. Be sure to rub that fact in the faces of any American Apple fans you know.