Apple May Sell Series 9 and Ultra 2 Watches Without Blood Oxygen App in U.S. Amid Patent Dispute

Apple has readied modified Apple Watch models that “do not contain pulse oximetry functionality,” medical technology company Masimo said in a document filed today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The filing, viewed by MacRumors, suggests that Apple will be removing the Blood Oxygen app from new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models sold in the U.S., at least temporarily. This change would allow Apple to sidestep an import and sales ban on Apple Watch models with blood oxygen sensing, which the U.S. International Trade Commission ordered last year after ruling that Apple violated Masimo’s pulse oximetry patents. The ban was already temporarily paused shortly after it began last month, but it could have resumed as early as this month, which likely spurred Apple to take this measure.

Apple has started shipping modified Apple Watch models to retail stores in the U.S., according to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, but it’s unclear when they will go on sale. Apple has yet to respond to our request for comment.

Apple’s website still advertises the Blood Oxygen app as an available feature on the Series 9 and Ultra 2 order pages in the U.S. as of writing. The feature can measure and display your body’s blood oxygen percentage, and is intended for “wellness purposes only.” Existing owners of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 will likely retain access to the feature, and it is not expected to be removed on models sold in other countries.

The feature’s removal is likely a stopgap, as Gurman reported that Apple is preparing a software update that would adjust the Blood Oxygen app’s algorithms, in an attempt to avoid Masimo’s patented technology. It’s unclear if this effort will be successful, and the legal battle between Apple and Masimo is likely far from over.

Tag: Masimo
Related Forum: Apple Watch

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