Apple Watch Sales Resume, iOS Features Coming in 2024, and More

Apple has resumed sales of its latest Apple Watch models, the Series 9 and Ultra 2, in the United States this week after a temporary ban on imports of the devices was lifted by a US appeals court on December 31, 2022.The new Apple Watch models had launched in September 2022 but sales were halted in the US since December 2022 due to a patent infringement lawsuit filed against Apple by Optis Cellular Technology. With the appeals court temporarily lifting the import ban, Apple is now able to sell the Series 9 and Ultra 2 Apple Watch models again through its stores and website while the legal battle continues in the courts.

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Availability of Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 Models

Apple stated that it expects in-store sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 to resume by Saturday, January 7, across Apple retail stores in the US.Online sales of the devices through Apple’s website are also slated to return by Thursday, January 5, at 12 PM Pacific Time. The new Apple Watch models have been highly anticipated and this return to availability will allow consumers to purchase the devices after a weeks-long ban had blocked sales over the holiday season.

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 represent Apple’s latest and most advanced smartwatch models with new features like crash detection, temperature sensing, and low power mode. The Series 9 model builds upon the previous Series 8 with an upgraded S9 chip, longer battery life, and a new temperature sensor. The Ultra 2 iterates on the rugged Ultra model with enhanced GPS capabilities and a brighter screen. With compelling new capabilities and health tracking features, the Series 9 and Ultra 2 cater to athletes, adventures, and health-conscious consumers.

Reason for Import Ban on New Apple Watch Models

The import ban on the new Apple Watch models stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Optis Cellular Technology against Apple in August 2022 alleging patent infringement related to wireless communications technologies. Optis, which develops cellular technologies and holds patents key to 5G connectivity, claimed Apple was violating six of its patents.

In October 2022, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) agreed with Optis and issued an import ban that blocked Apple from bringing the Series 9 and Ultra 2 into the country from manufacturing facilities in China and other regions. While the ban went into effect in December, Apple filed an appeal and was able to get the ban temporarily lifted pending further legal review.

The legal battle between Apple and Optis is complex and still ongoing. For now, consumers can purchase the new Apple Watch models again, but Apple faces uncertainty as the courts determine whether its products actually infringe on Optis’ patents. This dispute highlights the contentious patent landscape around wireless and cellular technologies.

Apple Expected to Introduce Exciting New iOS Features in 2024

Beyond its new devices like the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, Apple has a strong pipeline of new software features planned for its iPhone and iOS operating system in 2024. As Apple continues to iterate on iOS to improve the user experience, enhance functionality, and add new capabilities, several major updates are on the horizon.

Enhanced Security and Anti-Theft Measures

For 2024, Apple is developing several iOS features to help protect user privacy and security:

  • Stolen Device Protection: New capabilities to remotely lock, erase, and disable an iPhone that gets stolen or lost. This will make iPhones more secure if they fall into the wrong hands.
  • App Sideloading for EU Users: In compliance with new EU regulations, Apple is expected to introduce the ability for iPhone users in Europe to install apps from outside the App Store. This expand user choice but requires added security to reduce risks.
  • Roadside Assistance Via Satellite: The existing satellite connectivity features for emergency SOS will expand to enable roadside assistance requests for stranded users, even without cellular coverage. This can improve safety and peace of mind.

Smarter Digital Experiences

AI and expanded ecosystem integration will enable more intelligent and proactive experiences across iOS in 2024:

  • Siri Gets Generative AI: Apple will incorporate generative AI into Siri, allowing for more natural conversations and helpful suggestions without users needing to provide explicit commands.
  • RCS Messaging Support: The Messages app on iOS will add support for RCS, the enhanced messaging protocol used by Android. This will enable better features and interoperability for iPhone users communicating with Android contacts.
  • Collaborative Apple Music Playlists: Apple Music will gain a new feature for friends to co-create shared playlists, making music more social and collaborative.
  • AirPlay on Hotel Room TVs: iOS updates will allow users to more easily AirPlay content from their iPhone to TVs in hotel rooms, expanding wireless streaming capabilities.

Next-Generation In-Car Experiences

Apple is readying the next generation of CarPlay to release in 2024, taking the iPhone-to-automotive integration to a new level:

  • New CarPlay: A reimagined CarPlay experience will allow for deeper integration with vehicle functions like climate controls, radio, and gauges for single-screen access to in-car controls.
  • Expanded Third-Party Apps: More types of iOS apps beyond music, messaging and maps will be accessible and optimized through CarPlay, enabling greater app functionality on the in-car system.
  • Multi-Screen Layouts: CarPlay will support multi-panel interfaces on wider in-car displays, adapting to different screen layouts and sizes.

With Apple’s strong ecosystem and vertically integrated hardware, software, and services, it can deliver these kinds of innovative features that enhance the iPhone and iOS experience. As 2024 unfolds, iPhone users have much to look forward to.


The temporary lifting of the import ban on the new Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 has allowed Apple to resume sales of its latest and most advanced smartwatch models after weeks of unavailability. With compelling new health, fitness, and safety capabilities, these new Apple Watch models cater to active, health-focused, and design-minded consumers. The legal battle between Apple and Optis Cellular Technology continues over allegations of patent infringement, but consumers once again have access to Apple’s newest wearable devices.

Beyond hardware, Apple has an exciting software roadmap for iOS in 2024. With enhanced security features, smarter AI-enabled experiences, expanded ecosystem integration, and next-generation in-car technology like CarPlay on the horizon, iPhone users can expect meaningful improvements that tighten integration across Apple products and services. As Apple pushes innovation across its hardware, software, and services, 2024 is shaping up to deliver meaningful advancements that will underscore Apple’s position at the cutting edge.

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