Apple is planning to redesign its upcoming watches, and reports suggest that Apple’s forthcoming watch series will no longer have spo2 monitoring features. Yes, you read that right! The brand recently revealed that the pulse oximetry feature will not be available on the upcoming Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 devices. Although the brand has not provided an official statement, the latest reports indicate that the feature is expected to be discontinued.
In a recent filing with the Federal Circuit, Masimo’s attorneys have stated that the US Customs and Border Protection has determined that the ITC ruling does not cover Apple’s redesign. The one with no blood oxygen feature.
One of the reports suggests that the feature is still functioning on previously sold Watches. According to Apple spokesperson Nikki Rothberg, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 still have the feature, but the duration is not specified. As a result, it is unclear what the implications are for both current and potential Apple Watch owners.
According to a report, the redesigned Apple Watches have been sent to Apple retail stores. However, the stores have been instructed to wait to sell them until they receive authorization from the corporate office.
Undoubtedly, blood oxygen feature is one of the most important features, especially post Covid pandemic. Not having spo2 monitoring on Apple watches is a big compromise, which could potentially reduce its appeal to iPhone users.
Last year, the US banned the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 due to a patent dispute with medical device maker Masimo. The blood oxygen sensors in both devices were found to infringe on patents from Masimo, according to the International Trade Commission’s (ITC) ruling.
Before the ban’s implementation on December 26, 2023, the tech giant immediately withdrew the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 from its physical and online stores in the US. Nevertheless, the brand filed an appeal against the decision as a result, it successfully obtained a temporary pause on the watch ban. The company continued selling its watches in the US while waiting for the US Customs and Border Protection to assess the implemented changes.
Since then, Apple has been working diligently to modify the watches in order to steer clear of any potential patent infringements by Masimo. Apple plans to disable the blood oxygen sensor on both models by simply implementing a software update. Apple has, in fact, convinced US Customs that by implementing a software update to disable the blood oxygen sensor feature, the Apple watches can be legally marketed in the country.
Meanwhile, US Customs is evaluating whether the company’s proposed modifications were sufficient or not. According to a letter from Masimo’s attorneys, all parties involved seemed to be reaching a consensus on the new strategy to eliminate the feature from the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2.
Matt Whewell, director of Global Communications at Masimo, commented that Apple’s decision to redesign their upcoming watches with no pulse oximetry is seen as a move towards taking responsibility.
Hopefully, this information will help you make an informed decision, especially if the pulse oximetry feature holds great significance to you. And if it does, then you’re advised to wait until you get clarity on the new features on upcoming Apple watches.
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