In the world of smartwatches, no model is more instantly recognisable than the Apple Watch. Since it launched in 2015, the range has gone from strength-to-strength, and now covers everything from budget-conscious options like the Apple Watch SE, to the all-singing, all-dancing Apple Watch Ultra.
The Apple Watch range outsold the entire Swiss watch industry (opens in new tab) combined in 2019, giving you a sense of just how popular the models are. But consumers hoping to purchase an Apple Watch in the near future may need to act fast, as stock could get very hard to come by in the next few months.
That's because Apple is locked in a back-and-forth legal dispute over some of the technology housed within their watches, and the latest development could result in an import ban for the devices. The company going against Apple, AliveCor, claims that Apple used its patented technology to take ECG readings on models from the Apple Watch Series 4 and up.
In late December, it was ruled that the claims were true – Apple had infringed on the copyright. Their only chance of turning it around lay in an unlikely pair of hands. As President of the USA, Joe Biden had 60 days from the ruling to ensure it meets all of the necessary guidelines. If not, he had the power to veto the ruling and see it overturned. But, he didn't.
What does that mean for the Apple Watch? Well, not good things, particularly if you want to get your hands on one. In the December ruling, the International Trade Commission (ITC) recommended that Apple Watch imports were banned. That decision is in the balance while AliveCor's patents are checked and validated, but could put the brakes on the supply chain entirely.
It remains to be seen whether a ban will be enforced in the USA – and whether that ban would spread to other locations like the EU. But if you're hoping to snag a great Apple Watch deal, you might need to be quick.