Masimo CEO: Apple Watch Blood Oxygen Sensor is Not Reliable, Customers Are ‘Better Off Without It’

As Apple starts selling Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models without the blood oxygen sensor enabled, Masimo CEO Joe Kiani confirmed to Bloomberg that there has been no chat with Apple about a possible settlement.

According to Kiani, he has not spoken to anyone from Apple “personally” and no one from Apple has reached out about an agreement. He did say there have been court-ordered mediations he is unable to discuss, and that there are likely to be additional meetings in the future, but he does not believe those meetings will serve as steps to settling the legal dispute with Apple.

Back in December, Kiani said that Masimo would be open to a settlement with Apple and would help the Cupertino company “improve their product,” but he said he would want an apology and “honest dialogue” as part of any settlement discussion.

Kiani maligned the Apple Watch blood oxygen sensor, even though it is allegedly using Masimo-patented technology. “Apple is masquerading what they are offering to consumers as a reliable, medical pulse oximeter, even though it is not,” said Kiani. “I really feel wholeheartedly that consumers are better off without it.”

Apple’s blood oxygen sensor does not have FDA clearance, but Masimo’s W1 watch does. Masimo’s device offers continuous real-time oxygen saturation and pulse rate monitoring, and it can be used as a medical device in hospitals, clinics, and at home. Kiani says that pulse oximetry “is not useful unless it is a continuous monitor.”

Apple has accused Masimo of copying the Apple Watch with the W1, and claims that it infringes on several Apple patents. Apple has said that Masimo is using litigation to eliminate the Apple Watch from the market to make room for the W1 watch. Kiani says that Apple’s narrative is “false” and that Apple is living in a “fake reality.”

The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled in October that Apple violated Masimo patents with the Apple Watch blood oxygen sensor, and it levied an import ban on the component in December. Apple was forced to stop selling the Apple Watch for a short period, but sales resumed while the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit considered whether or not to stay the import ban during the appeals process.

The court decided yesterday that the import ban would not be paused while Apple’s appeal is considered, and as of today, Apple is not allowed to sell ‌Apple Watch Series 9‌ or Apple Watch Ultra 2 models with a functional blood oxygen sensor in the United States.

To avoid having to stop sales, Apple opted to sell modified ‌Apple Watch Ultra 2‌ and ‌Apple Watch Series 9‌ models that do not contain pulse oximetry functionality, and those devices are now available for purchase. These Apple Watches still have a blood oxygen sensor inside, but it is disabled.

In the future, should Apple come to some sort of arrangement with Masimo or should the ITC’s ruling be overturned, the Apple Watch models sold with the disabled sensor should be able to be returned to working condition with a software update. ‌Apple Watch Series 9‌ and Ultra 2 models sold prior to the import ban will continue to offer blood oxygen sensing technology, as well Apple Watches sold outside of the United States.

The import ban is only applicable in the U.S., and Apple is able to sell the Apple Watch as usual in other countries.

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