Apple’s Watch Update: Certain Models to Exclude Blood Oxygen Function Post US Court Ruling

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Apple will remove the blood oxygen feature from its latest Watches to facilitate continued import and sales in the US amid a legal dispute with medical device company Masimo.

In a statement, Apple announced the release of modified versions of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, both of which were initially introduced in September. 

The modified watches, set to go on sale Thursday, will feature an alert when users tap on the blood oxygen icon, directing them to an explanation on Apple’s website.

The decision comes after months of an intellectual property dispute between Apple and Masimo, which reached a critical point in October when the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that Apple’s watch sensors for blood oxygen had violated Masimo’s patents. 

In December, the affected watches faced a brief ban, which was temporarily lifted by a reprieve secured by Apple. However, on Wednesday, an appeals court lifted an injunction that had prevented the ban from taking effect, while not overturning the ITC’s decision, which is currently 

under appeal.

Apple’s Flexible Response to Legal Hurdles

apple-watch-update-certain-models-to-exclude-blood-oxygen-function-post-us-court-ruling
Apple will remove the blood oxygen feature from its latest Watches to facilitate continued import and sales in the US amid a legal dispute with medical device company Masimo.

Removing features from released products is uncommon for Apple, and the absence of the blood oxygen sensor could potentially make the modified watches less appealing to some consumers.

A representative for Apple stated “Pending the appeal, Apple is taking steps to comply with the ruling while ensuring customers have access to Apple Watch with limited disruption.” 

The steps include introducing versions of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the US without the Blood Oxygen feature, with no impact on previously purchased watches containing the feature.

While Apple expresses hope for a reversal of the decision by the appeals court, the process could extend over a year. In fiscal 2023, Apple reported $39.8 billion in wearables sales, which encompasses products such as headphones. 

The outcome of this legal battle could have implications for the tech giant’s future product features and market positioning.

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