Apple faces impacts of the ban, limits repairs and exchanges for Apple Watches

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Apple faces impacts of the ban, limits repairs and exchanges for Apple Watches
Apple has halted the sale of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 in its US online store just before a ban linked to a patent dispute takes effect. But that is not all, as the company will no longer offer repair services for out-of-warranty watch models.

According to Bloomberg, Apple's customer service teams received a memo stating that the company will no longer replace out-of-warranty models, extending back to the Apple Watch Series 6. This means issues like a broken screen won't be fixable through Apple's services.

While the company will continue to provide software-related help, such as operating system reinstalls, representatives are instructed to inform affected customers that they will be contacted once hardware replacements are allowed again. Historically, Apple opted to replace rather than repair most hardware issues with the smartwatch.

This decision impacts most new Apple Watches sold since 2020, including Apple Watch Series 6, Watch Series 7, Watch Series 8, and Watch Ultra, in addition to the current 9 and Ultra 2. These models feature the blood oxygen feature covered by the patents in question.

While on the subject, medical device company Masimo filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, asserting that Apple's blood oxygen monitoring technology, featured in the Apple Watch Series 6 and subsequent models, violated its patents. This legal battle led to a preliminary injunction barring Apple from selling the Apple Watch Series 9 in the US.

Customers who bought watches before December 25—the day the ban takes effect in the US—and models still under warranty won't be affected by the replacement restriction. The standard device warranty is typically one year, with the option to extend the period by purchasing AppleCare.

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After December 25, Apple won't be able to facilitate exchanges for watches bought before the ban, such as swapping for a different color or size, during the usual return period. Retail staff has been informed that product swaps won't be permitted, but Apple will still replace accessories like bands. However, watches can still be returned for a refund.

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