Apple backs off: to ditch blood-oxygen feature in Apple Watches to avoid US ban

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Key notes

  • Apple may remove the blood-oxygen feature from specific smartwatch models to comply with a potential US import ban.
  • This action stems from a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Masimo Corp.

Apple is exploring measures to keep its latest smartwatches, the Series 9 and Ultra 2, on the US market. The company faces a potential import ban due to a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Masimo Corp. related to blood-oxygen measurement technology. Earlier, it was announced that Apple would be banned from selling it temporarily.

In October 2023, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favor of Masimo, paving the way for a ban on the affected Apple Watches. To address this issue, Apple has developed a software update that disables the blood-oxygen feature in these models.

US Customs and Border Protection approved this workaround on January 12th, offering a potential solution should Apple’s appeal against the ban be unsuccessful.

Apple reportedly began shipping modified watches without the feature to US retail locations as a contingency measure. The company is awaiting a decision from a federal appeals court on its motion for a stay on the ITC’s ban order, which is expected this week. Earlier, even the US President declined to intervene in the ban.

How might removing the blood-oxygen feature impact customer demand and brand perception? I feel that it won’t affect the sales that much. What’s your take on it?

More here.

More about the topics: apple, Apple Watch, lawsuit