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Blood-oxygen feature removed from Apple Watches in response to US ban

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Apple has recently taken a significant step in its ongoing patent dispute with Masimo Corp by removing the blood-oxygen measurement feature from its latest Series 9 and Ultra 2 Apple Watches, according to a Bloomberg report. This move comes as a strategy to comply with a U.S. ban imposed by the International Trade Commission due to patent infringement claims by Masimo.

In October, the ITC ruled that Apple’s devices infringed on Masimo’s patents related to blood-oxygen measurement technology. To avoid the repercussions of this ruling, Apple temporarily halted the sales of the affected smartwatches just before Christmas. However, an interim stay later allowed the company to resume sales at the end of the month.

Apple’s team of engineers worked on developing a software workaround to bypass the dispute. They aimed to modify the blood-oxygen app and its algorithms to circumvent the issue without completely losing the feature. However, the most immediate solution to prevent a potential reimposition of the ban was to remove the capability altogether.

Impact of the blood-oxygen removal from the Apple Watch

The decision to eliminate the blood-oxygen feature from the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 is a significant one, as it was a prominently advertised function of these devices. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Tamlin Bason noted that while this move addresses the immediate risk of a ban, it could potentially affect customer demand.

Apple has already started distributing the modified versions of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches to its retail locations across the United States. Store employees have been instructed not to open or sell these new models until they receive further instructions from Apple’s corporate offices.

In addition to these changes, Apple is awaiting a federal appeals court’s decision on its motion for a continued stay on the ban. The ITC has recently argued against Apple’s request, labeling their arguments as “weak and unconvincing.”


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