Updated January 17th, 2024 at 13:38 IST
Apple to remove blood oxygen sensor from its smartwatches
The step is being taken due to the dispute arose from a patent claim by Southern California-based Masimo Corp against Apple.
Apple smartwatches: Apple Inc. is considering the removal of the blood oxygen sensor from its latest smartwatches, the Series 9 and Ultra 2, according to media reports. This move is seen as an attempt to navigate a potential US ban on the devices, pending the outcome of an appeal. The US Customs and Border Protection has allegedly approved the redesign of these Apple Smartwatches without the blood-oxygen sensor.
Analysts suggest that the elimination of the blood oxygen sensor might be achieved through a software update. The dispute arose from a patent claim by Southern California-based Masimo Corp against Apple. The US Customs and Border Protection has determined that Apple's redesign falls outside the scope of the import ban imposed by the US International Trade Commission, potentially allowing Apple to keep its watches on the market.
The process of appealing the ruling is expected to take at least a year. During this period, Apple aims to continue selling watches with blood-oxygen sensors, positioning them as health-monitoring devices. Masimo secured a favourable ruling from the US International Trade Commission in late October, leading Apple to temporarily halt sales of the affected Apple Watch models just before Christmas. However, an appeal by Apple resulted in an order allowing the watches to return to stores while the appeal was under review.
To address the dispute, Apple developed a software workaround, which it presented to the customs agency responsible for enforcing import bans. Apple assured that the redesigned watches unequivocally do not contain the contested technology, known as pulse oximetry, according to Masimo. In the interim, the blood-oxygen feature remains available on newly sold Apple Watch units, as the appeals process unfolds.
Published January 17th, 2024 at 13:38 IST