A significant development has recently unfolded in the Apple Watch saga, following a patent dispute with medical device maker Masimo regarding blood oxygen sensors being used in the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 models.
At the time of writing, various reports indicate that Apple plans to drop the blood oxygen sensors in these two models in order to avoid any import bans. While no official statement has been made by regulators or Apple itself, Masimo has issued a letter that indicates that these changes will likely go into effect and that they are in agreement with them.
Initially, Apple responded swiftly by pulling these models from both its physical and online stores just before the ban’s enforcement on December 26th, 2023. However, the absence of these models was short-lived. Apple challenged the decision and secured a temporary suspension of the ban, allowing the company to continue sales in the U.S. while awaiting a review by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The decision to remove the blood oxygen feature from these models is part of Apple’s efforts to comply with the legal landscape and circumvent the patent issues. However, it’s currently unclear how this change will affect current Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 owners, with fears of a potential update looming that could see the feature crippled.